Ramin Jahanbegloo was the head of the Department of Contemporary Studies of the Cultural Research Centre in Tehran, during which time he brought scores of prominent Western intellectuals to Iran, including Jürgen Habermas, Richard Rorty, Noam Chomsky, Toni Negri, and Edward Said. In April 2006, Mr. Jahanbegloo was arrested on charges of collaborating with Americans and Europeans to destabilize Iran. He was placed in solitary confinement for four months and released on bail.
Nader Hashemi: I'd be happy to share with you some impressions of my friend Ramin Jahanbegloo. He's an incredibly affable, erudite, thoughtful intellectual, someone who is really a man of ideas, one who loves engaging in dialogue and debate. In terms of where I would situate him intellectually inside Iran, he has a very unique role that I think he's playing in terms of the intellectual life of Iranian students, the literati, the intellectual class generally, and it's really a by-product of his, I think, unique intellectual training, and in, I think, his intellectual training in the type of work he chose to pursue as a graduate student. I think that really gives insight in terms of where you can situate Ramin on the intellectual map.
In the case of Ramin Jahanbegloo, it seems that he was promised freedom and a passport if he gave an interview to "an agency of his choice", in order to tell them "just what he has confessed under interrogation." The offer had a twist: to make sure that Ramin would keep his side of the bargain, he had to post two houses as bail – his mother's as well as his own. The student news agency interview was the result.