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Liberal Iranian
Liberal as in Liberty and Freedom. Iranian as in Cyrus and Ferdowsi.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Hostages in Their Own Land
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Iran's government has detained four Iranian-American dual nationals: Parnaz Azima, who works for Radio Farda, the Persian channel of Radio Free Europe; Haleh Esfandiari, an academic who was most notable for promoting a positive image of Iran; Kian Tajbakhsh, who is affiliated with George Soros' Open Society Institute; and Ali Shakeri, founder of the Center for Citizen Peace Building at the University of California, Irvine. Regardless of the details of their cases, these men and women are being held against their will on bogus charges.

There are many more unnamed individuals in similar conditions who don't make it to the headlines. But even when they do, like Mojtaba Saminejad, Arash Sigarchi and Sina Motallebi, there remain parasitic analysts and apologists of Iran's regime, who live by passing on as experts (on what?) in every online forum they can sell themselves off, that insist this is just a figment of our imagination. It is in fact perfect daylight, they proclaim, despite all the evidence of a pitch dark night. They are morally accountable for the lies they spread and for the harms they inflict. For lying in the same bed with the evils of our time. Because they do so knowingly.

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It's indeed very sad that these scholars are being held. However, I assure if, should the Iranian government openly announce a plan to destabilize or overthrow the US government, every single Iranian scholar and academic will be detained upon entry to the US and will be jailed.

Obviously, the Iranian government has raised the security level to "Red", they look at every scholar with connections to US government as a possible spy trying to implement Bush's new plans.

This will go on while the shadow of regime-change exists over the government.

There are quite a few things wrong with your theory, but it seems you don't even see the most basic facts of the case at hand: these people who are being held in Iran are not just Americans, they are Iranians. That's why they are hostages in their own land.

These people are not connected to the US government. If anything some of them were outspoken critics of the US policy and sought to show a good image of the current Iranian regime.

Even then the US government has not openly announced a plan to change the regime in Iran. As far as hidden agendas are concerned, the Iranian government has since day one sought to "end the existence of the great Satan" and yet millions of Iranians live and work in the US.

Now, even if what you said were true, what does that have to do with this case? Would two wrongs make a right? Your cool and matter-of-fact justification of these crimes against humanity makes you either of two things: plain silly or intellectually dishonest, in which case you are also morally complicit with those crimes.
In fact I agree with Monami:

Why would the Iranian government detain a few Iranian citizens who have no connections with nothing? Why don't they arrest my cousin who's an American resident, travels to Iran frequently and is in food business? or my Iranian-American friend who's doing a postdoc in Caltech and visits Iran twice a year? They obviously don't arrest people randomly, and are clearly suspicious about the detainees' activities and/or affiliation.

Let's have a look at their affiliation now: Radio Farda, a radio network backed by the US government, broadcasting anti IR news and propaganda. Radio Farda is "Illegal" in Iran. Would the US not arrest and detain an affiliate of an illegal Anti-American radio station on her visit to the States?

The Soros Foundation, which is seen by the Iranian government as the force behind all velvet revolutions in Eastern Europe, ie countries that were behind the so-called Soviet Iron Curtain.

I'm not trying to justify the act of imprisonment, just wanna say there's a reason for the behavior of the Iranian government, and while those reasons exist the behavior is not likely to change.

Note 1: Iranian law does not recognise dual citizenship. If you travel to Iran on an Iranian passport, which all the detainees have done, you will be treated as an Iranian citizen.

Note 2: Have you forgotten the barbaric act of the US security when they detained *tens* (not 4) of highly educated Iranian professionals on their way to the Sharif University Reunion? They jailed most of them, who were on a perfectly legal and apolitical trip, and brought many of them the next day to the airport which hand cuffs and chains. US gov hasn't even apologized for that incident.
Another Cyrus,

When did I say the arrests are random? Quite on the contrary they are very targeted. And it is true that the "reason" behind them is that the regime "feels" threatened. But this by itself doesn't mean that "while those reasons exist the behavior is not likely to change" as you say. The behavior could change if the regime is changed. This is an ethical question. The "reasons" boil down to demanding freedom, hence they are morally right. In the moral choice between them and the regime's mistreatment, the former should be defended.

As to your other points:

"Would the US not arrest and detain an affiliate of an illegal Anti-American radio station on her visit to the States?" No! Because no radio stations in the US is branded "illegal" on being Anti-American. This would violate the first amendment of the consitution and would itself be illegal.

Your note 1: Indeed, the Iranian law does not recognize dual citizenship. And that is the whole point. Iranians are gravely abused by their own government.

Your note 2: No I haven't forgotten. But what's the anology here? Were they American citizens taken hostage in their own land? As to the treatment they received: most of them were not put in jail. I have followed that case closely and I only know of one person who spend one night in jail becuase he did not want to comply. Most of them decided to agree to voluntary departure.

You chose to call the US security's action "barbaric" under a post about the treatment of Iranian citizens by their own government. Out of curiosity, why do you choose not to show any similar feelings about the latter?
Did you know that there are close to 55 million young Iranians under 30? Did you also know that IF WE ALL rebelled against being under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's tyranny that we could start our own liberation and democracy of freedom for all of us and it would be a "new age movement" for all of our brother Muslims to join? Please, I would like sometime to show my face to more than my parents and husband! I would like the freedom to walk down the street on a hot summer day
in a pair of jeans and a shirt not some long dress that I may have a "heat stroke" in! Would this not be a good thing to do in the intrest of our own lives here in Iran? A.M. ("We are certainly seeing a return to behavior we haven't seen for 10 years," Hadi Ghaemi of human rights
Watch told The Telegraph.
"Generally, the imposition of strict Islamic codes has been increasing under Ahmadinejad.")!
Just read this news article below:
The most talked about confrontation in Tehran these days began normally enough. A young woman walking down the street with a headscarf (sliding a little too far down?) hiding only half her hair was accosted by the morality police, called a slut and told to cover up.
The incident became interesting when the girl responded with a Bruce Lee-like whoop and aimed a kick at her tormentor’s midsection. The girl knew martial arts, as she convincingly demonstrated to the approving cheers of the crowd that gathered around her to watch the whupping.
What made it famous? Someone recorded it on a cell phone. Within hours, it was local legend.
Islamic rule in Iran has withstood 28 years of Western outrage, economic boycotts and careful disdain by Iranians who long for more personal freedom. But the regime might not survive the cell phone, which Iranians are turning from a means of communication into a means — for symmetry? — of political protest.
Nearly every young Iranian — in a land where 70 percent of the population of 73 million is under 30 — owns a mobile phone. And every day tens of millions use them to send text messages, pictures and videos to their friends.
"No one uses a landline anymore," says Mossegh, a 20-something clothing salesman. "First of all, most of them don’t work. And anyway, I communicate with my friends by SMS, not calls. Calling just isn’t cool."
Iranians belong to a chain mail of jokes about President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose irregular hygiene habits are the stuff of endless banter. "I walked in the ocean with just my socks on," begins one joke making the rounds. "Now our talented Iranian scientists are figuring out how to replace all the water."
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