Eat The Press



This Mother's Day, spare a thought for mother and daughter Haleh Esfandiari and Haleh Bakhash. Late last year, Efandiari, a noted Iranian-American scholar who runs the Middle Eastern program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., traveled to Iran to visit her own 93-year-old mother. But, at the airport for her return flight, she was kidnapped at knifepoint by masked men working for the Iranian government. Since then, she has been subject to house arrest and, since Tuesday, remanded to Iran's Evin prison, cut off entirely from the world she knows.

Why has all this happened?

According to The Washington Post, American observers believe that the Iranian government, incensed by the Bush administration's recent plans to promote democracy in Iran, was trying to find a link between the Wilson Center and antigovernment activists. The Wilson Center, however, is nonpartisan and does not engage in political activity.

In other words, for no good reason at all. Even as this situation has escalated, Esfandiari's husband, Shaul Bakhash, remains hopeful the matter can be resolved through reason, "Whatever they think my wife did seems to be in their imagination. I hope they [the Iranian government] realize that they made this mistake and let her return to her family."

Tensions remain high, but faith remains: this is a family of tough, smart women. If you are interested in lending your support to Ms. Esfandiari, please contact the good people at Amnesty International.

And then call your mom and tell her you love her. Enjoy your weekend.

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