The Economist Asks: Trapped in Iran

In July 2019 Nicolas Pelham, The Economist's Middle East correspondent, received a rare journalist’s visa to visit Iran. But on the day he was due to fly home he was detained by intelligence officials from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, one of the country’s most powerful institutions. He was questioned repeatedly and forced to stay in the country for seven more weeks. Although unable to leave, he was later allowed to roam the city without a minder and found a paradoxical liberation in captivity. He gained a rare insight into life in Tehran, recording the sounds of the city as he explored. In this podcast, he tells Anne McElvoy his extraordinary story.


Nicolas Pelham’s account, “Trapped in Iran”, is on the cover of 1843 magazine. 

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