I had come home, but I could not stay. Though the authorities would soon close Tohid, the threat to journalists and political dissidents continued. I had to go back to New York. I booked a flight for the end of December and promised my mother I would soon return. "Not to Tehran," she said.
And she was right, at least partly. For though I have been able to visit briefly, I cannot remain there. Reporters like me have no work there anymore, and the specter of being thrown in jail hangs over us always. If I angered the government again, they could simply reopen my case, and with it, my nightmare. Instead, we hope that the reforms put forward by President Khatami will take hold, allowing Iran's civil society to blossom again.
For now, though, I and others like me remain a footnote. In a report by the Iranian Islamic Human Rights Commission, my arrest appeared as a two-sentence statement, reporting that I, a journalist, had been jailed as a result of a misunderstanding.