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Ear to the Ground

American Journalist Gets 8-Year Jail Sentence in Iran

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Posted on Apr 18, 2009

In a move that strains the already delicate ties between Tehran and Washington, Iran has sentenced Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi to eight years in jail for allegedly spying for the U.S. government.

The New York Times:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she was “deeply disappointed” by what the State Department has called baseless charges against Ms. Saberi, and demanded her release.

“We will continue to vigorously raise our concerns to the Iranian government,” Mrs. Clinton said in a statement released Saturday.

The sentencing of Ms. Saberi, 31, could complicate political maneuvering between Iranian and American leaders over Iran’s nuclear program, an issue that kept relations icy during much of the Bush administration. President Obama recently made overtures to Tehran about starting a dialogue over the nuclear program, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran responded positively.

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By Sepharad, April 20, 2009 at 9:42 pm Link to this comment

Blackspeare, growing up in North Dakota should have made her pretty American. In fact, as both an American (dual Iranian) citizen and a journalist, she probably internalized the feeling of being pretty safe (we only assassinate our politicians; not our journalists), and inadequately skilled in prudence but full of energy, sense of female empowerment, ambition, candor. Unfortunately, only investigative journalists are taught or simply understand how important prudence is in certain arenas. Not knowing that is probably what got her arrested. Our government is not afraid of us—which is terrible; governments not afraid of their citizens can turn them into serfs or prisoners much faster than you’d think—but I think Iran, though not precisely afraid of their citizens, is always worried about what their citizens are thinking. Worried about velvet revolutions. So any journalist working in Iran should take that into account. Look what happened to that poor Canadian woman, essentially a tourist, who was taking pictures outside a prison. I wish her well. The Iranian government might come up with a face-saving way of releasing her early, now that we have a President who, for all his grievous shortcomings, does not begin every conversation with Moslem or Communist heads of state with an insult.

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By Allan Krueger, April 20, 2009 at 8:11 am Link to this comment

Roxana should be sentenced to house arrest (my house) for the next eight years!

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By radson, April 20, 2009 at 5:23 am Link to this comment

The following link is part of the intrigue that is going on between Iran and the Western World.It is interesting

to note that the Iranian President has decided to grant the journalist a fair trial as of today, 20 April.

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By Blackspeare, April 19, 2009 at 10:57 am Link to this comment


You’re the one who claims that ethnic communities are spies and I’m the racist——I’m afraid you’re the one who is biased.  All I do is tell things like they are!

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By Folktruther, April 19, 2009 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

All countries tend to use journalists as spies and stringers. Israeli intelligence, Mossad, for example, uses Jewish communities all over the world for information.  As China uses Chinese communities.
But whether she was functioning as an intelligence source depends on the evidence, which we don’t know.
The only thing we do know is the statements of the American powerful are untrustworthy.

Blackspeare, you provide a good example of how racist cynicism distorts one’s view of political and social reality.

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By Purple Girl, April 19, 2009 at 5:44 am Link to this comment

so what moral grounds do we hav enow to assure she is not Tortured? None. Gee I;m sure she’s feeling ‘Safer’ at this moment.along with two women in N.Korean prisons.
The Bush Torture not only put our military in danger of torture- they have placed our Female soldiers and ctiizens in jeporady.
These Two cultures do not hold Females EVEN to the saem regard as US (although nothing to break our arms patting ourselves on the back).
When Adultry gets a man merely Flogged, but a Woman Stoned to death- they have little regard for female life. so why would they bother to think we had any higher a respect.
Then consider this extending to their accomadations for Women prisons- do you think they are afford the same as the males? Most likely not.
Torture didn’t just make US less safe as individuals, but as a society. Now we are forced to appease these captures further because our ability to claim we would do no such thing to theirs is Gone. The Bushies have increased the likelihood we will negotiate with terrorists to save Aemrican lives- they upped the Ante and the Real threat to all american Lives over seas and potentially within our borders. If one of these Women dies, by torture,execution or even neglect,their blood will be on Cheney, Rummy et als hands.they provided the ‘Green Light’ and Justification for such atrocities to be used against US.

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By Geoph, April 18, 2009 at 8:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Iranian judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi told reporters, “That a [U.S.] government expresses an opinion without seeing the indictment is laughable.”

- In a related situation, two American journalists are being held by North Korea. Here was their response to our concerns:

North Koreans scoffed at any suggestion that the Americans were receiving harsh treatment.
“They laughed. ‘We are not Guantanamo.’

We have lost the moral authority to wish for the release of political prisoners, humane treatment of them, or even to know what their charges are. I hope these women are somehow released from these conditions. Journalists shouldn’t be pawns of political battles.

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By Ahmed, April 18, 2009 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Iran wants to avoid to better the world by responding positively to President Obama’s initiatives.
The foolish leaders of Iran don’t understand Israel will make IIran as a scapegoat to destroy Obama politically.
They should release Roxana Saberi soon.

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By Thomas O. Anderson, April 18, 2009 at 5:16 pm Link to this comment

I wish I could feel sorry for this woman, but if she worked for NPR and the BBC, odds are she’s guilty as hell.

Iranians have every reason imaginable to not trust the United States. It’s policies implemented by the likes of Clinton, Bush and Obama - backed by the undemocratic, torturing thugs at the CIA - who are solely to blame.

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By Blackspeare, April 18, 2009 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment

I get a big kick out of the designation of “American Citizen.”  Just because you hold a US passport doesn’t mean you’re a citizen in the true sense.  A true citizen is someone who lives, works, pays taxes, and supports their own country.  Living for six years in Iran she is far from an expatriate and thus is really an Iranian citizen, the country of her choice.

However, her arrest, trial, and sentience will serve as a bargaining chip in the future——its all part of a game called international intrigue.

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By jr., April 18, 2009 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment

America does the same thing with spies.  And, of all people, america the Torturer has little room to judge others, in despite of what it thinks.

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