'You are here for the rest of your life. Do you understand? You are not leaving Iran. You are here until you die.'
Betty Mahmoody and her husband, Dr Sayyed Bozorg Mahmoody ('Moody'), came to Iran from the USA to meet Moody's family. With them was their four-year-old daughter, Mahtob. Appalled by the squalor of their living conditions, horrified by what she saw of a country where women are merely chattels and Westerners are despised, Betty soon became desperate to return to the States. But Moody, and his often vicious family, had other plans. Mother and daughter became prisoners of an alien culture, hostages of an increasingly tyrannical and violent man.
Betty began to try to arrange an escape. Evading Moody's sinister spy network, she secretly met sympathisers opposed to Khomeini's savage regime. But every scheme that was suggested to her meant leaving Mahtob behind for ever...
Betty Mahmoody now lives again in Michigan with Mahtob and her two sons from her first marriage. William Hoffer is the co-author of Midnight Express and Saved: The Story of the Andrea Doria. He lives in Virginia.
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