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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Roxana Saberi's arrest and what it says about Obama's overtures to Iran

On Friday, I reported on Iran's arrest of Roxana Saberi, an American journalist, who is the daughter of an Iranian-born father and an American-born mother. Since her arrest, the charges against Ms. Saberi have escalated. She is now charged with espionage, had a brief trial last week, and a verdict will be rendered in the weeks ahead.

In my post on Friday, I alluded to the connection between Ms. Saberi's arrest and the Obama administration's fawning overtures to Iran. A brief editorial in Thursday's Wall Street Journal, which refers to Ms. Saberi as Iran's "latest hostage," makes that connection much more explicit.
For now, the important thing is to assure Ms. Saberi's safety and to work for her release. But it is worth noting that her arrest came days after President Obama was inaugurated, that the espionage charges were brought about the same time U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke shook hands with Iran's deputy foreign minister in the Hague (an encounter the Iranian foreign ministry officially denies, by the way), and that her "trial" coincides with news that the Administration will drop the longstanding U.S. demand that Iran cease its uranium enrichment as a precondition to direct talks.

Advocates of engagement often make the case that talks are the best way to foster better relations with Iran, and a better Iran altogether. Ms. Saberi's prosecution is as good an indication as any of the real nature of the regime, and of how the mullahs intend to reciprocate Mr. Obama's open handshake.
The Obama administration's entire approach to Iran (and Syria and a myriad of other bad actors in this region) is wrong from the outset. I hope that at least the American people understand that, but fear that most of them are still caught up in the 'hopeychangey' rhetoric and don't understand that this is heading for a bad ending.

What could go wrong?


At 5:50 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Iran has punched its fist at America. And guess who will address that Nazi Nuremberg Rally Durban II in Geneva next week? That well known champion of Roxana Saberi's human rights, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad!

What could go wrong, indeed?


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