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Talk Is Cheap, But It May Cost Lives

April 16, 2009

After Monsieur Obama has received all the credit for having saved Capt Phillips from the pirates, maybe someone among the venerable press could remind him of another US citizen who is about to lose her life through the hands of disgruntled foreigners:

In 2003, an Iranian-born Canadian photojournalist named Zahra Kazemi was arrested in Tehran, jailed in its notorious Evin prison and charged with espionage. Less than three weeks later, Kazemi was dead. An Iranian doctor who examined her before her death later reported that she had been raped, sustained a skull fracture and had her fingernails ripped out.

Now another foreign journalist is imprisoned at Evin and also charged with espionage. In late January, Roxana Saberi, a U.S.-born reporter of Iranian descent who had been living in Iran for several years, was arrested for buying a bottle of wine. In early March, she was accused of “illegal activities,” including working without press credentials. She was later indicted for espionage and on Monday her case went to trial, which lasted a day; a verdict is expected within weeks.


For now, the important thing is to assure Ms. Saberi’s safety and to work for her release. But it is worth noting that her arrest came days after President Obama was inaugurated, that the espionage charges were brought about the same time U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke shook hands with Iran’s deputy foreign minister in the Hague (an encounter the Iranian foreign ministry officially denies, by the way), and that her “trial” coincides with news that the Administration will drop the longstanding U.S. demand that Iran cease its uranium enrichment as a precondition to direct talks.

It appears that the Obama administration is ignorant of the nature of the Iranian regime. Or what else could explain that the Iranians are treated so differently to the Somali pirates who were not offered handshakes and diplomatic ‘carrots’ to engage in talks with US officials while they held an innocent American civilian prisoner? Otherwise, someone from the venerable press should point out how unfair Monsieur Obama was to the pirates.

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