On her first day in Tehran, Courtney went to the US Embassy and told an official who she was and why she was there. The assistant to the deputy ambassador told her that she should return to the US, and leave the investigation to “professionals.” She politely refused, saying that the “professionals” had so far discovered absolutely nothing. He said that these things took time. He told her that her efforts would interfere with official efforts, and might even put her life in danger. She told him that she would gladly risk her life in order to find her husband. He said he had to go to a meeting. "Go home," he ordered. Frustrated, she walked out of the embassy and sat down on the steps outside. With her head in her hands, she wondered what her next step would be.
Minutes later, a well-dressed Iranian man walked over to her and asked, in fluent English, if he could be of any assistance. He offered Courtney a handkerchief. He sat down next to her. She looked at a kind, caring face, and felt hope for the first time in almost a month. She explained her situation to the man. He frowned. He told her that cigarette smugglers tolerated no one who got in their way. He said he would talk to some people he knew. He gave her his business card and the name of a good hotel to stay in. He said he would contact her at the hotel the next day. He squeezed her hands in his, and then said goodbye.