The PoliBlog
Collective


Information
The Collective
ARCHIVES
Monday, May 14, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the BBC: Iran admits detaining US academic

Iran’s foreign ministry has confirmed that the government has detained a leading Iranian-American academic.

[…]

Ms [Haleh] Esfandiari, one of Washington’s best known Iran experts, was visiting Tehran to see her 93-year-old mother.

[…]

In December, as she was on her way to the airport to return to the US, Ms Esfandiari’s taxi was stopped by three men who stole her belongings, including her Iranian and US passports.

When she went to replace her passport, she was sent to the intelligence ministry, where she was repeatedly questioned about her work as the director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson Centre in Washington.

Last week, after being prevented from leaving the country for more than four months, she was taken to the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran by three masked men armed with knives, the Woodrow Wilson Centre said.

Iran’s Kayhan newspaper has accused Ms Esfandiari of spying for the US and Israel and of trying to incite a democratic revolution in the country.

[…]

Other Iranian-Americans have also been banned from leaving the country recently, including journalist Parnaz Azima, who works for the U.S.-funded Radio Farda.

Former FBI agent Robert Levinson disappeared in March on Iran’s resort island of Kish.

Apparently the Iranians are willing to detain anyone whom they believe to be potentially linked to US-driven attempts at promoting democratic revolt in Iran. As such, it is clearly dangerous for any American of Iranian descent with any kind of connection to the US government, however tangential, to travel to Iran.

It also shows a paranoid regime taking steps to create what it thinks is security for itself but abusing people it sees as threats. This is a behavior that is easy to recoil at when done by Iran, but it bears noting that the US government has been willing to hold persons it feels are threats as well. For example, Jose Padilla was held in prison for over three years without charges because he was considered a threat to the US by members of the administration. He remains in jail now awaiting trial.

I do not wish to draw exact parallels in these cases, but it is impossible for me to look at a case like Esfandiari’s and not think of Padilla or the overall cavalier way that the Bush administration has addressed the issue of detainees in general.

Sphere: Related Content

Filed under: Academia, Iran | |

5 Comments

  1. […] Daniel Drezner is similarly unsurprised by the news. Indeed, he also shares my general concerns and goes on to list some more specific ones (the Haleh Esfandiari angle occurred to me as well). […]

    Pingback by PoliSciFi: A PoliBlog Sideblog » Yeah, So? (Iran Destablization Plan Revealed!) — Wednesday, May 23, 2007 @ 9:36 am

  2. […] Daniel Drezner is similarly unsurprised by the news. Indeed, he also shares my general concerns and goes on to list some more specific ones (the Haleh Esfandiari angle occurred to me as well). […]

    Pingback by PoliSciFi: A PoliBlog Sideblog » Yeah, So? (Iran Destablization Plan Revealed!) — Wednesday, May 23, 2007 @ 9:36 am

  3. […] Daniel Drezner is similarly unsurprised by the news. Indeed, he also shares my general concerns and goes on to list some more specific ones (the Haleh Esfandiari angle occurred to me as well). […]

    Pingback by PoliBlog ™: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Yeah, So? (Iran Destablization Plan Revealed!) — Wednesday, May 23, 2007 @ 9:36 am

  4. […] Daniel Drezner is similarly unsurprised by the news. Indeed, he also shares my general concerns and goes on to list some more specific ones (the Haleh Esfandiari angle occurred to me as well). […]

    Pingback by Political Mavens » Yeah, So? (Iran Destablization Plan Revealed!) — Wednesday, May 23, 2007 @ 9:36 am

  5. […] Daniel Drezner is similarly unsurprised by the news. Indeed, he also shares my general concerns and goes on to list some more specific ones (the Haleh Esfandiari angle occurred to me as well). […]

    Pingback by Political Mavens » Yeah, So? (Iran Destablization Plan Revealed!) — Wednesday, May 23, 2007 @ 9:36 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

The trackback url for this post is: http://poliblogger.com/wp-trackback-poliblog.html?p=11941

NOTE: I will delete any TrackBacks that do not actually link and refer to this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.




Visitors Since 2/15/03
Blogroll

---


Advertisement

Advertisement


Powered by WordPress