The new Iranian hostages
According to the L.A. Times http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-usiran2jun02,0,750031.story?coll=la-home-center they are:
"... Haleh Esfandiari, director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington; Kian Tajbakhsh, with George Soros' Open Society Institute; journalist Parnaz Azima, with U.S.-funded Radio Farda; and Ali Shakeri, a peace activist and founding board member of the Center for Citizen Peacebuilding at UC Irvine."
In addition, one Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent, is "missing" in Iran. They say they have no idea where he is.
It is speculated that the Iranian government may want to exchange them for some of their diplomats held in Iraq, or maybe they are just pushing the US and Europe to see how far they can.
George Bush has demanded their release - but in this case, much as I hate to say it, he may not have a legal leg to stand on.
Let me explain. My children have dual citizenship (US/Polish) and my sister as well (US/UK). When my son was born in Warsaw, we went to the American embassy to get his US passport and they explained to us how dual citizenship works.
First point, they don't like it much. They recognize that it happens, but it's the kind of thing that makes life complicated for diplomats and makes for potential diplomatic incidents.
The upshot of it is, my kids have to enter Poland on their Polish passports, and America on their US passports. Everywhere else they can use the one that gets the cheaper visa. (When my wife and I last visited Belarus together for example, her visa cost about a tenth of mine.)
When they reach the age of conscription, if there is a draft the country they are in at the time gets them.
And here's the alarming part - if they get arrested in either country, the other one can do nothing. Zip. Zero.
That's why the Iranians are conspicuously holding the four Iranian-Americans, and denying all knowledge of the whereabouts of Robert Levinson. They're giving us the finger, and we may have to take it. I shouldn't like to be any of them right now.
Dual citizenship can be very convenient if both countries are good on human rights. This is one of those times when it's not so good.