Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Roxana Saberi Released

Iranian American journalist Roxana Saberi was released from Tehran's Evin prison yesterday. Saberi, pictured here with former moderate Iranian President Mohamed Khatami (who is running again in this summers presidential election) was sentenced to eight years recently on charges of spying for the US. Her conviction by many was seen as a kick in the teeth to President Obama who recently expressed his desire to improve relations with Iran in a televised address to the Iranian nation. However the Iranian courts decision to reduce the 8 year sentence to two years suspended could be interpreted as a more favorable response to Obama's conciliatory speech. Obama has come under increasing pressure from the American right who claim that his "speak softly" approach is not producing results. He apologized for American arrogance in Europe yet got few extra troops for Afghanistan, he spoke of nuclear disarmament and the North Koreans launched a missile and he reached out to Iran who responded by locking up an American Journalist. These are the claims being hurled at Obama by the right wing media and blogs in particular. Comparisons to how the Soviets ran rings around Kennedy during his first two years in office and how Ayatollah Khomeini humiliated President Carter are frequently made. Might this latest incident be the first example of Obama's strategy producing results. Maybe, maybe not, I don't know. What do you want from me ?


Robert J. Avrech said...


There was a secret ransom paid to free the poor woman. That's how it's always done with Iran. This has nothing to do with Obama's new diplomacy. In fact, Egypt is holding major talks with Israel because they are terrified of Obama's conciliation towards Iran. Even as Iran openly tries to depose Mubarak.

Same for India, Poland, Czech, Georgia, Columbia. All of America's former democratic strategic allies.

Anonymous said...

I want answers Ted, not just hearsay and conjecture.

Although I hope that it's Obama's strategy paying off. And this will become more obvious as time passes. But unfortunately this is hard to swallow considering the world is becoming a more and more violent and extremist place.

Maybe everyone should just convert to Islam and live happily ever after?

Ted Leddy said...


I have heard nothing about a ransom but its quite possible. Are you suggesting the state department paid it?

"This has nothing to do with Obama's new diplomacy." Does this mean you are revising your statement on "Seraphic Secret" that she was locked up in response to Obama's effort to reach out ?

As I have said to you before, I know the Arabs are threatened by a nuclear Iran but I highly doubt they would welcome another conflict in the region.

Thanks for your comments Robert. I highly appreciate your recent contributions to Gubu World. Watch out for my ongoing top ten war movies list. I would highly value your opinion of my choices.

Ted Leddy said...


Unfortunately Aido man hearsay and conjecture is all I have at this stage. Its just too early to tell if Obama's strategy is paying off.

Converting to Islam, might work, if it does I'll buy you a beer. Will probably have to be non alcoholic though.

Robert J. Avrech said...


My sources in the ME are quite clear that a ransom was paid. A few million. The source of the money is so far unknown.

To clarify. I believe that her imprisonment is part and parcel and the Persian war against the west, and certainly against a free press. It was a way of signaling to Obama that they are in the driver's seat.

Netanyahu just met with King Abdullah of Jordan and Mubarak of Egypt. Ostensibly, it was to talk about, sigh, peace in the ME. In truth both Arab dictators are voicing their support for an IAF strike against Nantaz.

Strongly recommend the British series "Piece of Cake." about the early days of the Battle of Britain. Not a feature, but really, really good.

GW said...

Hello Teddy:

I think your interpretation wrong simply because this type of act has a long history in Iran. Indeed, Amir Taheri published the astounding figures some time ago, but over the years, the theocracy has kidnapped and or held hundreds of foreigners. The rule of law is trumped in Iran by the arbitrary and aggressive needs of the theocrats.

The theocracy does not operate in accord with western rules of rationality - and little is more well documented than that over the theocracy's 30 year life. I blogged on this a few days ago, for what its worth.


Hope all is well.


Ted Leddy said...

Thanks Robert

I'll look out for "Piece of cake".

Ted Leddy said...

Thanks GW

Your reference to rationality is interesting. It raises the question, are the Iranians rational actors within the international arena. If they are it makes their behaviour much easier to predict.

The way I see it there is a divide within the regime between those who believe they should conduct a foreign policy based on Iran's national interest and those who believe FP should reflect its revolutionary ideals. If it is the latter then we should be very afraid because this means they may pursue a course of action even if it is clearly bad for them.