23 May 2007

American citizen held in Iranian jail

NPR had a story this morning about an American woman who is being held in an Iranian jail, accused of being a spy. She's been prevented from leaving Iran for four months.

Considering the fuss that was made over the Brits who were held by Iran earlier this year, I am surprised that this is the first time that I've heard about this.

My disparaging thought is that because this is one woman, female, that they're not going to make a fuss over it, but I honestly think it far more likely that there hasn't been a huge fuss because this woman was born in Iran and became a naturalized American citizen. Which admittedly, isn't all that much less disparaging, really.

Haleh Esfandiari is the director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, which without Googling I'm guessing is a Washington DC think-tank. Lemme check. Wow, my own powers of intellect amaze me sometimes. From their own website:

The Center is the living, national memorial to President Wilson established by Congress in 1968 and headquartered in Washington, D.C. It is a nonpartisan institution, supported by public and private funds, engaged in the study of national and world affairs. The Center establishes and maintains a lively, neutral forum for free and informed dialogue. (Source)

Living under a totalitarian regime must be terrifying. While I joke quite a bit about President Idiot being a dictator, truth is that even with the erosions of personal freedoms we've endured under his tenure in Washington we still have due process. Ms. Esfandiari's attorneys have yet to be able to speak with her, and the news today was that the Iranian government fully intends to charge her with espionage. Unreal.

Treading into personal opinion here, it seems to me that the religious leaders who make up Iran's de facto government can't handle a successful and well-educated woman, which is why they've arrested her.

I hope sincerely that the Idiot Administration gets involved here to negotiate her release. I'm thinking positive thoughts for her and her family.

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