Marina Nemat is one of Jay’s favorite guests and people. She is an Iranian dissident, a former political prisoner, and a human-rights activist. Her memoir is Prisoner of Tehran. In this “Q&A,” she talks about the past and the present, linking the two. Recent events include the killing of General Suleimani and the downing of the Ukrainian airliner. Iranians are massing in the streets. They have been crushed before – will they be crushed again? Marina Nemat’s analysis is based on long, hard experience. It is subtle and often moving. Jay calls her “a beautiful person, inside and out.” She is also very, very brave. 

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There are 5 comments.

  1. JuliaBlaschke Coolidge

    I had to stop listening. The USA would gladly stay out of Iran’s affairs if they would stop attacking our Embassies, killing our soldiers and waging proxy wars all over the place. Iran needs to stay out of the affairs of other countries in the middle east and elsewhere.

    • #1
    • January 16, 2020, at 8:28 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  2. WilliamDean Coolidge

    JuliaBlaschke (View Comment):

    I had to stop listening. The USA would gladly stay out of Iran’s affairs if they would stop attacking our Embassies, killing our soldiers and waging proxy wars all over the place. Iran needs to stay out of the affairs of other countries in the middle east and elsewhere.

    The USA indeed meddled in Iranian affairs, which is what set the wheels of the Iranian revolution in motion and got us all here in the first place. Defeat the regime, but don’t carry illusions that we weren’t involved in any way in Iran prior to the rise of Khomeini.

    • #2
    • January 16, 2020, at 1:13 PM PST
    • Like
  3. MISTER BITCOIN Coolidge

    WilliamDean (View Comment):

    JuliaBlaschke (View Comment):

    I had to stop listening. The USA would gladly stay out of Iran’s affairs if they would stop attacking our Embassies, killing our soldiers and waging proxy wars all over the place. Iran needs to stay out of the affairs of other countries in the middle east and elsewhere.

    The USA indeed meddled in Iranian affairs, which is what set the wheels of the Iranian revolution in motion and got us all here in the first place. Defeat the regime, but don’t carry illusions that we weren’t involved in any way in Iran prior to the rise of Khomeini.

    True during the period from 1954 to 1979 when the US supported the Shah of Iran.

    But since 1979 Iran has been a rogue terrorist state.

    A nuclear Iran is untenable.

    We cannot let that happen.

    Which is why the Iran deal under Obama was a strategic blunder

    • #3
    • January 17, 2020, at 7:40 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  4. JuliaBlaschke Coolidge

    WilliamDean (View Comment):

    JuliaBlaschke (View Comment):

    I had to stop listening. The USA would gladly stay out of Iran’s affairs if they would stop attacking our Embassies, killing our soldiers and waging proxy wars all over the place. Iran needs to stay out of the affairs of other countries in the middle east and elsewhere.

    The USA indeed meddled in Iranian affairs, which is what set the wheels of the Iranian revolution in motion and got us all here in the first place. Defeat the regime, but don’t carry illusions that we weren’t involved in any way in Iran prior to the rise of Khomeini.

    1953 was 67 years ago. We supported the Mullahs who supported the Shah. You and the Iranians need to get over it.

    • #4
    • January 17, 2020, at 7:47 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  5. Lois Lane Coolidge

    I listened to the whole interview, but I also didn’t quite understand what she wanted from the international community.

    Did she think the USSR would have fallen without American engagement?

    She mentioned the “cultish” figures that are “very dangerous” in Iran and waiting to leverage opportunities to gain power, but I know she understands there are “cultish” figures who are “very dangerous” in the current regime, even if things are stable for the upper middle class that doesn’t wish to rock the boat. (I guess these are the families who wear the outer Islamic garb in the streets with pretty party clothes beneath that are quickly displayed in private houses? That’s what I’m told happens all the time by people I know from Iran.)

    Yet I also don’t dismiss the fact that it is important to think about who governs when an old regime falls. This doesn’t mean that one keeps the old regime in place though, especially when that regime is a threat to other countries.

    Regardless, it seems as if the US isn’t actively trying to overthrow anything anyway. We simply took out a general who was violating international law and attacking our people/assets. President Trump telling the Iranians to not kill their protestors seems a pretty reasonable extension of the moral support for those who want something other than what they have?

    So I found it weird that her sole focus on a catalyst for current protests was the shot down plane. I mean, I think the government in Iran wants to make these current protests about just the plane, not the general. Maybe I truly don’t understand the culture, but I think Trump was very helpful to those Iranians who dislike the current “Republic.” On this, at least, he gets an “atta boy” from me.

    She didn’t seem to put much stock in the Iranian athlete who defected either though. She didn’t say anything about that at all, really, other than Jay hadn’t butchered the name.

    I’m sure the lady is very nice. I like how she’s honest about now being a Canadian. I’m sorry that part of her youth was stolen from her. There are many tragic stores from Iran.

    • #5
    • January 17, 2020, at 6:41 PM PST
    • Like