Since I was released from Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison last month, the questions have come again and again: Can we still talk to these people? Should the Obama administration engage in dialogue with Iran? What should the West do in nuclear negotiations? After being jailed, interrogated and beaten by the Revolutionary Guards for 118 days for reporting honestly on the disputed June 12 presidential elections, I am often expected to oppose any dialogue. But the West still needs Iran and should continue talking to it — no matter what it has done to people like me.
Inside Evin, I was forced to confess that I was part of an insidious Western media conspiracy to overthrow the regime. I was forced to apologize to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. I was released as suddenly as I was arrested, without explanation. But my interrogator told me to send a message to the world: “We are a superpower. America’s power is waning, and we will soon overtake them. Now that Americans have started this war against us, we will not let them rest in peace.” He paused, perhaps realizing that he sounded defensive. I was a jailed journalist wearing a blindfold, not some sort of spy. (I’m not even American.) He changed the subject to “soft” war, a term Tehran uses to refer to an imaginary war that it says is promoted by the media against the “holy government of the Islamic Republic.” “We will answer their attacks with all our might,” he said….