Iranian Bridges and Bonds: Yeganeh and Jason Rezaian in Conversation with Don George
Jason and Yeganeh Rezaian are husband and wife journalists who unexpectedly went from covering the news to becoming the news when they were arrested and imprisoned in Tehran on July 22, 2014. Both were held on entirely fabricated charges, Yeganeh for 72 days and Jason for 544 days. Jason’s riveting new book, Prisoner, recounts his time in captivity as an imprisoned journalist, and the extraordinary efforts that eventually resulted in his release.
On August 10, 2019, I had the privilege and pleasure of interviewing Jason and Yeganeh at Book Passage in Corte Madera, California, as part of the annual Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference. Our wide-ranging conversation touched on the trajectory of their careers and their relationship, the circumstances of and reasons behind their imprisonment, their love for traditional Iran and complicated feelings about contemporary Iran, their commitment to on-the-street journalism and the telling of everyday human stories, and the lessons they have taken away from captivity and liberation.
Jason’s and Yeganeh’s unvarnished honesty, love for their respective countries and cultures and their shared profession, and profound personal bond made for an extraordinarily illuminating and transporting evening, one that I will never forget. I hope this conversation about Jason Rezaian’s book and beyond will move and inspire you as it did me.
Jason Rezaian is a Global Opinions writer for The Washington Post. He was The Post’s correspondent in Tehran from 2012 to 2016. He is also a CNN contributor. Yeganeh Rezaian is an Iranian journalist living in Washington, DC. From 2009-2014, while living in Tehran, she covered Iranian political, social, and economic news for Bloomberg News and The National. She is currently Advocacy Associate at the Committee to Protect Journalists.
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For a decade, Don George, the beloved and award-winning Editor in Chief of this blog, has been procuring captivating and compelling travel stories for us. He’s traveled widely in and written extensively about Japan, not to mention having lived there for two years. His recent book, The Way of Wanderlust: The Best Travel Writing of Don George, features a heart-opening collection of his own evocative essays and tales from his 40-year career as a travel writer.