Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Dhimmi's Eye View Of Iran's Release of Roxana Saberi

A few weeks ago, Iran charged Miss Nebraska, Roxana Saberi, with being a spy and imprisoned her for eight years in what was, by all accounts, a kangaroo trial. This is par for the incredibly repressive and brutal theocracy - it is nothing that they have not done repeatedly, in one form or another, since coming to power in 1979. One would expect a Brit to be particularly sensitive to this, as Iran held UK sailors hostage two years ago. Enter the misguided David Blair of the Telegraph, who sees in the release a conciliatory gesture from Iran.

In the absence of any formal contact, the [U.S. and Iran] communicate by sending signals. This may be the best way of understanding the release of Roxana Saberi, the Iranian-American journalist who was freed from jail in Tehran this week.

By reducing her sentence for alleged espionage, and allowing her to leave prison immediately, Iran may be sending a conciliatory signal to America. This move could be designed to deliver a message that not every member of Iran’s regime is interested in total confrontation with the West.

I hate to disabuse Mr. Blair of his view, but Iran's release of Ms. Saberi is hardly a gesture of conciliation. What Iran did in subjecting Ms. Saberi to criminal sanction was a lawless and outrageous act in the first place. To credit Iran now with a "conciliatory gesture" that should earn good will for ending this outrage would be ludicrous. It would be nothing less than rewarding Iran for their lawlessness in the first place.

If Mr. Blair is unfamiliar with the power centers in Iran, there is really only one that matters when it comes to dealing with the U.S. - it is with the Supreme Guide, Ayatollah Khamenei. To suggest either that Ms. Saberi could have been tried for spying without Khamenei's approval or that she was released without his approval speaks of a fundamental lack of appreciation for how Iran is governed. And it also projects a Western style rationality to Iranian decision making that has no basis in fact. Mr. Blair wants to see a rational Iran, and therefore looks for even the remotest sign in lawless acts. But to be honest, Mr. Blair, if the theocracy in charge of Iran had the remotest of such leanings in their make-up, Ms. Saberi would not have have been charged and tried on a bogus charge of spying in the first place.

To the contrary, Iran's acts as regards Ms. Saberi are designed to establish the theocracy's lack of respect for the U.S. and a demonstration of its ability to act against Americans in any way it sees fit. The treatment of Ms. Saberi was not an act of conciliation, it was a shot across the bow. They are prepping for unconditional talks with Obama.


MK said...

"Mr. Blair wants to see a rational Iran, and therefore looks for even the remotest sign in lawless acts."

Yep, that's pretty much it with western governments now, largely of the leftist persuasion. If it's a tyrant or a scumbag, pretty much anything is a good sign.

suek said...

I've heard it said that crazy people are the most rational in the world. The problem is that their "rational" acts and thoughts are based on a reality that doesn't exist for the rest of us.

I don't know if that's true, but if so, it certainly applies to Iran. I have no doubt that their actions are entirely logical - by their standards, and their goals. It's just that we in the west have a real problem comprehending their goals - which seem entirely irrational.

I suspect that learning to deal with them means learning how they think which imo, could be dangerous for someone's mental health.

Ted Leddy said...


I agree with you that to in any way praise Iran for releasing Saberi would be "rewarding Iran for their lawlessness", almost like thanking a thief for giving back your wallet.

I am a little confused however how conservative America declared that Tehran's decision to sentence her to 8 years was a direct response to Obama's reaching out speech. In other words, it was the Mullahs way of telling Obama to get stuffed. But when they decided to release her the same people are claiming that there is no connection between the two.

GW said...

I do not think that Tehran's decision to imprison and try Saberi was tied Obama'a "reaching out speech." I think this is what Tehran does on a constant basis to, in their own irrational way, intimidate other nations. They also have a history of pulling back from the brink and releasing many of the hostages once a point is made. You can get a feel for Iran's irrational and incredibly aggressive acts in a post I did on Iran last year,

There is little of what we would consider rationality to all of this. The rational move for Iran vis a vis Saberi would have been not to arrest her, or to stop this whole carnival by quashing her trial and releasing her if the arrest itself was a rouge act.

Bob Baer and Bernard Lewis have written some excellent books on Iran. As has Iranian author Amir Taheri. And there is the book "Persian Puzzle Box" that gives a great history of Iran and the theocracy. The sum of all of those references is that Iran's theocracy is a rogue government that does not operate within the constraints of civilized society and does not operate according to Western rules of logic. Further, the theocracy is hyperaggressive in its push to expand the revolution at all costs. That in fact takes priority over all but the single domestic concern of preventing a counter revolution.

suek said...

I wonder if her family raised a ransom to buy her back...

GW said...

According to Robert Averich, they did. You can find it in the comments to Ted's post on this at his blog. Excellent blog, by the way.