In the fall of 2008, a few weeks after the election of Barack Obama, I got an unexpected call from the Iranian government. Would I like to attend the 15th annual Press and Media Festival in Tehran? They had never invited an American before.
I didn’t know what to make of it. But the chance to get a visa to Iran does not come every day, so I persuaded my editors to pay for the trip. For a week, I manned the “America booth” at the cavernous exhibition hall in the Imam Khomeini Grand Mosalla Mosque. Three letters — USA — hung innocently above my head, next to “Germany” and kitty corner from “France.”