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Alumnus Pierre Prosper Wins Release of American Imprisoned in Iran

Pepperdine School of Law alumnus Pierre Prosper (JD ’89) recently secured the freedom of a 71-year-old Iranian-American businessman who was unlawfully imprisoned in Iran for more than two years. Prosper, who has served as U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, negotiated with Iranian authorities for 14 months to secure the release of Reza Taghavi, a businessman from Orange County, California. 

Taghavi was released on October 21. He was never officially charged with a crime during his captivity.

“It's a great day for the many friends and family of Reza,” said Ambassador Prosper.

Robert C. O’Brien, the managing partner of Arent Fox’s Los Angeles office noted, “This accomplishment is the result of extraordinary legal and diplomatic efforts by Ambassador Prosper under very difficult circumstances.”

Prosper has devoted much of his professional life to the protection of human rights. In 2008 he was elected by the General Assembly of the United Nations to serve on the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Previous to this appointment, Prosper was appointed by President George W. Bush, and after being unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he served as the Ambassador-at-Large for War Crime Issues until October 2005.

Prior to becoming ambassador, he worked in the State Department where he served as a special counsel and policy adviser on war crimes issues, and as a war crimes prosecutor for the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, where he prosecuted the first case of genocide under the 1948 Genocide Convention. He went on to win additional convictions for crimes against humanity and broke new ground in international law by convincing the UN Tribunal, for the first time, to recognize rape as an act of genocide and a crime against humanity.

Visit Pepperdine's Global Justice Program.