November 27, 2013

The United States, along with five other world powers, has signed an agreement with Iran over its controversial nuclear program. What do Iranian expatriates in America think of the deal, which would temporarily ease western sanctions? Host Michel Martin speaks to human rights activist Sussan Tahmasebi and writer Roya Hakakian.

January 13, 2013

As a young girl reeling from the revolution in Iran in 1979, author Roya Hakakian discovered the great Persian poet Ahmad Shamlou. His poems made her realize the importance of breaking from tradition. Has a poem ever changed your thinking this way? Tell us in the comments.

February 13, 2005

As the Bush administration keeps up a steady drumbeat of warnings to Iran not to develop nuclear weapons, commentator Roya Hakakian reflects on the nuclear rivalry between Iran and Israel. As a Jew born in Iran, she finds this confrontation deeply disturbing

June 27 , 2009

Scott Simon speaks with author Roya Hakakian about the widespread prayer vigils she’s encouraging for Neda Agha Soltan, the woman whose death on the streets of Tehran was captured on a cell phone video camera. Hakakian also discusses the role of women in Iranian political movements.

An audience poll to pick the 100 best young adult books coughed up 75,000 voters and just two books with non-white protagonists. Even a winning writer complained. Kill the judges? No, the enemy is us. Book editors ask for a solution.

January 13, 2013

January 9, 2012

When Roya Hakakian moved from Iran to the U.S., she didn’t think any poet in her adopted country could top the ones whose work she grew up with. But then she discovered a piece that blew away her prejudices. It was “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke.

February 25, 2012

Poet Roya Hakakian is both Iranian and Jewish, and in an op-ed in Sunday’s New York Times, she argues that the two nations share an intertwined history that should discourage the prospect of war. Host Scott Simon speaks with Hakakian, author of Land of No, about the looming possibility of war between Iran and Israel.

July 9, 2009

Iranian-American author and human rights activist Roya Hakakian talks about growing up Jewish in post-revolutionary Iran.

On Sept. 17, 1992, a group of Iranian and Kurdish opposition leaders were assassinated in a Greek restaurant in Berlin. Despite pressures to keep the investigation at the lowest possible level, a German prosecutor unraveled a tangle of threads that led to Iran’s Supreme Leader himself. Host Scott Simon speaks with Roya Hakakian, author of the new book,Assassins of the Turquoise Palace.


January 13, 2013


Commentator Roya Hakakian remembers protesting in front of the American Embassy in Iran during the 1980 hostage crisis. She was a teenager at the time and now ponders the fate of today’s Iranian youth.

July 2, 2009

Author and activist Roya Hakakian offers her take on political upheaval in her native Iran. Hakakian emigrated from Iran to the United States in 1985, seeking political asylum

April 24, 2005

Iranian-born commentator Roya Hakakian remembers the daunting goal she set for herself — becoming a writer in English. Although nervous about her command of our language, Hakakian signed up for a poetry class with beat generation poet Allen Ginsberg at Brooklyn College. Hakakian was delighted when Ginsberg trashed her first writing sample as riddled with “clichés” and “overused adjectives.” She was thrilled to have mastered the trite phrase.