Iran is in the news a lot this week because of several stories from the past about prisoners held there:

  • This week marks the 35th anniversary of 52 Americans taken hostage and held for 444 days during the Iranian Revolution;
  • Jon Stewart’s movie “Rosewater” is about to open — it’s about journalist Maziar Bahari being kept in prison for over 100 days for being suspected of being a spy after appearing with Jason Jones in a bit for “The Daily Show”;
  • Josh Fattal is coming to the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival this Monday to discuss, “A Sliver Of Light,” about his imprisonment in Iran for two years with fellow Americans Sarah Shourd and Shane Bauer when they were hiking in Iraq and allegedly crossed the border into Iran, where they were charged with espionage.

Josh joined me today on KTRS to talk about that experience. Since the three of them were released only after an arrangement through back channels to have the Sultan of Oman pay $465,000 to Iran, I asked whether he thinks it’s right for the US to pay ransom when Americans are taken overseas — and whether that applies to hostages held by Isis. We also discussed why he at first hid his connections to Israel, what conditions were like in prison, and what his guards/captors told him about their feelings towards America.

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