Message from Dr. Haleh Esfandiari

Dear Friends:

I would like thank each one of you for your generous support during my long ordeal and incarceration: you wrote letters, signed petitions, called to offer your help to the Wilson Center and my family, even offered to help raise money for my bail.

I never knew of, nor even imagined, such an extraordinary outpouring of support while incarcerated in Evin Prison. I am truly grateful that you never lost hope and worked tirelessly for my freedom. All this, and the knowledge that you kept me and my family in your prayers, is a source of strength and inspiration to me.

I have returned to the Wilson Center energized to continue to work for dialogue between nations. Despite a terrible ordeal that occupied eight months of my life, I continue to believe that dialogue and diplomacy are the means towards international peace and stability. I will continue to work towards that goal.


Haleh Esfandiari
Director, Middle East Program


Dr. Haleh Esfandiari, director of the Wilson Center's Middle East Program, arrived safely in the United States on September 6th. Dr. Esfandiari announced that she was happy and excited to be home with her family.

Esfandiari was incarcerated in Tehran's Evin prison on May 8, 2007, on allegations of endangering Iranian national security. During her lengthy 105-day confinement in prison, she was denied access to her legal defense team and to independent monitoring bodies such as the ICRC and was allowed only limited contact with her family. Dr. Esfandiari left Iran on September 2nd.

Media with questions may reach Sharon McCarter at (202) 691-4016 or

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