Blog Archives

Download Roya’s Favorite Essays

The “Portable Roya” contains some of Roya’s most memorable works, including pieces in The New York Times, POLITICO, and the World Affairs Journal. Download here (docx)

Women are right to boycott Iran’s chess tournament

Not since 1979, when leading American feminist Kate Millett joined thousands of women in protest of Iran’s revolutionary officials’ plan to reinstitute mandatory veiling, have Iranian women had a global advocate. That changed this September, when Georgian-American chess champion Nazi

Commentary: An Iranian refugee on becoming American – legally, then in spirit

It’s lucky that my mother and I were admitted as refugees to America before the topic of immigration became so contentious. If the current laws were to change to add skills or financial requirements, we could have never gotten in.

A Cappuccino With the C.I.A.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The invitation came in an email, written in the ingratiating tone of the Nigerian prince looking to wire his millions into my checking account, and delivered the same jolt of giddy disbelief: Officers of the Near

The Ayatollah’s Disarming Wit

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Every tourist who visits Iran has three common observations: The women are stunning, the traffic is maddening, and, after oil, humor is the major industry. On the streets and in taxicabs, political jokes abound. No one,

Misreading Iran’s Elections: Iranian Infighting and American Narcissism

Iran’s presidential election of June 14th is being hailed as a political opening. The landslide victory of Hassan Rouhani, who had called for moderation in foreign and domestic policies, for a more open state news media, and for engagement with

I Heart Khomeini

Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett’s “Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms With the Islamic Republic of Iran” is a long and elaborate promotional brochure designed to sell Americans on the mullahs and their nuclear

Bending Iran to the Rule of Law

As Iran says it plans to upgrade its main nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz, and talks on its disputed nuclear program are set to resume this month with world powers, we can look to one brilliant example — mostly unknown

Daughter of the Storm: An Iranian Literary Revolution

Adolescence is a universally grave hour. Mine was made graver by a revolution in 1979 in my beloved birth country of Iran. The mutiny I felt within had an echo in the world without. On the streets, martial law was

What Ben Affleck’s ‘Argo’ Misses About Iran

As one of the students protesting outside the American embassy during the Iran hostage crisis, Roya Hakakian writes about her unique perspective on Ben Affleck’s film Argo. But she says the film misses the essential point that the hostages were