Omid Memarian

Friday, May 11, 2007

"Iran’s American Prisoner "

Here is today's Ney York Times editorial piece about the arrest of haleh Esfandiari. She has been devoted to support dialogue among scholars between Iran and the United States; sad days for all the people who know her. The Situation in Evin prison is hurtful for her. I hope that the Islamic government release her pretty soon:
"This past week Iran’s capricious and dangerous government jailed the Iranian-American scholar Haleh Esfandiari. Her unjustified arrest came after authorities barred her from leaving the country and after weeks of harassment clearly intended to intimidate one of the United States’ most distinguished analysts of Iranian politics.
Ms. Esfandiari must be immediately released and allowed to return to her family. The world and the citizens of Iran are watching to see how its leaders treat this advocate of improved relations between Washington and Tehran.

Ms. Esfandiari, the director of the Middle East program at the nonpartisan Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, has lived in the United States since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Over the past decade she has visited her aging mother in Iran twice a year. At the end of her most recent visit, on Dec. 30, three masked, knife-wielding men stole her luggage, including her American and Iranian passports. When she went to replace her documents, she was sent to the Intelligence Ministry for the first of many unwarranted interrogations. On Tuesday, she was taken to the Evin prison, where an Iranian- Canadian photographer was beaten to death in 2003.

Repressive regimes are congenitally paranoid, but how Iranian officials can believe they will benefit from Ms. Esfandiari’s imprisonment is impossible to understand.Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is under severe pressure at home and abroad. Jailing Ms. Esfandiari will only increase those pressures, further weakening Iran’s standing with the rest of the world and his own standing with Iran’s citizens."


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