Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Why America can do nothing for Roxana Saberi

Note: This appeared as an Op-ed in the Valley City Times-Record. You can google Roxana Saberi if you're unfamiliar with this case. Briefly, she's a Fargo resident, dual American-Iranian citizen, now in prison in Iran charged with espionage.

Her father is Iranian, her mother Japanese, and if there's any combination more likely to produce lovely daughters I'd like to hear about it. She is a former Miss North Dakota USA.


Fargo resident Reza Saberi, father of imprisoned journalist Roxana Saberi is in his native Iran, demanding the regime release his daughter.

I hate to say this, but lots of luck.

Roxana, a 31-year-old freelance reporter from Fargo, is in an Iranian prison charged with espionage. Reports indicate she has been living in Iran for six years, working as a freelance journalist reporting on the Islamic Republic, and stayed on after her permission to work as a journalist was revoked.

One report has it she was arrested buying, or attempting to buy, a bottle of wine, a big no-no in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The thought of a lovely young woman in prison in Iran gives one a queasy feeling. The worst jail in America is a five-star hotel in comparison with what passes for normal in Islamic countries. And news reports say she's in the infamous Evin prison. That's not good.

There are efforts underfoot to bring pressure on the Iranian government to release Saberi.

I would give a lot to be wrong about this, but there is probably nothing that can be done to help her from this country. She is going to have to rely on the whims of a capricious and probably clinically insane clique of thugs for mercy.

It could happen though. Ahmedinejad delighted in showing “king's mercy” to the British sailors and marines they caught at sea a few years back – after rubbing the UK's nose in their impotence to do anything about it, and their complete lack of support from their fellow EU members.

And, the President of the United States has made conciliatory gestures to Iran. He was answered with withering contempt, but it doesn't seem to have registered on him.

President Obama was also recorded on video bowing low to the King of Saudi Arabia, also known as “The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques,” and conspiracy buffs have been having a field day ever since, while the media studiously ignores yet another protocol blunder.

The White House denies the bow. So who are you going to believe, the President of the United States or your lying eyes?

But, if the President deigns to take notice of the Saberi case, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has stated publicly Saberi should be released, then it might just happen. Because nothing would trip President Ahmedinejad's trigger more than to have our president grovel publicly to him.

And, that's the only thing that has a chance of working, because legally the United States doesn't have a leg to stand on, even presuming the Iranians would be impressed by legalities.

Here's how I know. Saberi holds dual American and Iranian citizenship. My children are dual citizens of the U.S. and Poland. When our first child was born in Warsaw, we registered the birth with the Polish authorities and the American Embassy.

What they told us at the embassy was, they don't like dual citizenship, but they recognize it happens. The consequences are: my children must enter Poland on their Polish passports, and enter the U.S. on their American passports. Everywhere else they can whip out the passport that offers the cheaper visa.

Whichever country my son becomes of draft age in (if they have conscription), they've got him.

And here's the kicker, if a dual citizen is arrested in either country he/she holds citizenship in, the other can do nothing.

I think we'd better get used to seeing our president grovel.

UPDATE: April 18, According to the morning news, Roxana Saberi has been convicted of espionage in Iran, and sentenced to eight years in prison. We'll see what happens.

It could have been worse...


  • At 8:43 AM, Blogger ravin said…


    i can't get on wiko because i don't say what they want


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