The Moscow-Tehran Axis of Evil

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Photo: Alexandr Demyanchuk/SPUTNIK/Getty Images
Julia Ioffe
October 25, 2022

Last month, protests erupted in Iran after Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman, was killed by Iranian authorities for not wearing her hijab properly. It became an international story for all the obvious reasons, including teenage girls flipping the bird to some of the scariest men in the world. So I turned immediately to my friend and Washington Post journalist, Jason Rezaian, who understands the dynamics in the country perhaps better than anyone outside its borders.

Jason and I met shortly after his release from the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, where he had served a year and a half, much of it in solitary confinement, on bogus charges of espionage. Jason and his incredible wife Yeganeh, an Iranian journalist who was also imprisoned for several months, were freed as part of the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration, and they became instant celebrities when they moved to Washington upon their release. (Jason has written a book about his experience, which was also made into a podcast.)