“Living in the Islamic Republic,” wrote Azar Nafisi in her book Reading Lolita in Tehran
in 2003, “is like having sex with a man you loathe.” This verdict has
gathered extra force and pungency as the succeeding years have elapsed
and as more women have been stoned, hanged, beaten, raped, and
silenced. Lately has come the news that Iranian men in prison are being raped,
too, for trying to exercise their right to vote. And now the U.S.
government has come to a point where it must ask itself: What is it
like to enter negotiations with a man who loathes you and who every
Friday holds public prayers that call for your death?