Release Haleh Esfandiari

In the NYRB, a call to name and shame Iran for its assault on free inquiry, human rights and civil society, and for the arrest of Haleh Esfandiari.

The arbitrary detention and confinement of Dr. Haleh Esfandiari, a prominent Iranian-American scholar and the director of the Middle East program at the nonpartisan Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., is the latest distressing episode in an ongoing crackdown by the Islamic Republic against those who, directly or indirectly, strive to bolster the foundations of civil society and promote human rights in Iran. Over the past year and a half, this onslaught has targeted prominent women’s rights activists, leaders of nongovernmental organizations, student and teacher associations, and labor unions.

In recent weeks, scores of women’s rights activists have been harassed, physically attacked, and detained for no greater a crime than demonstrating peacefully and circulating petitions calling for the elimination of discriminatory laws and practices. University students across the country have faced expulsion, arrest, and imprisonment for peacefully protesting the erosion of the administrative and academic independence of their universities.