US-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi poses for a photograph in Tehran in this April 10, 2004 file photo. An Iranian-American journalist detained in Iran since late January 2009 and accused of espionage went on trial this week and a verdict is expected soon, the Iranian judiciary said on April 14, 2009.
I've been following the status of Iranian-American US reporter Roxana Saberi for a few months now, and her fate isn't looking to be too good. Ahmadinejad figures he's doing this woman a service by allowing her a 'full defense' for a fabricated crime. Saberi faces 8 years in an Iranian prison on charges of espionage.
Oh please, Mahmoud.
Some backstory: Ms. Saberi is 1997 Miss North Dakota, born in Fargo. As she is part Iranian, Saberi traveled to Iran in 2003 to work as a freelance reporter for news organizations such as National Public Radio and the BBC (given her situation, let's cut Saberi some slack for that). According to her father, Saberi has been working on a book about Iranian culture.
Saberi was arrested back in January shortly after she purchased a bottle of wine. It's only gotten worse since then:
Aside from the fact that Ahmadinejad is a world-class asshole, it's very plausible that he's using this woman as fodder for future political engagement with the US. As you can see, it's clear that the number of charges they pulled out of thin air, moving from a lack of credentials to espionage, has no basis at all. What would Miss North Dakota 1997 be doing spying for the US in Iran?
Iran has released few details about the charges against the [Saberi]. Saberi was arrested in January and initially accused of working without press credentials. But earlier this month, an Iranian judge leveled a more serious allegation that she was passing classified information to U.S. intelligence services.
[...]Her parents... traveled to Iran to seek her release. Her father, Reza Saberi, has said his daughter wasn't allowed a proper defense during her one-day trial behind closed doors a week ago. He said no evidence has been made public, and his daughter was tricked into making incriminating statements by officials who told her they would free her if she did.
He told CNN on Sunday that her trial lasted only 15 minutes. "It was a mock trial," he said.
One Iranian analyst said Ahmadinejad's letter was politically motivated and suggested Iran could be using Saberi's case to gain leverage with the U.S.
"Iran can use Saberi's case as a bargaining card in possible negotiations with the U.S.," said analyst Saeed Leilaz.
And as you can expect, our Head of State has done everything short of demanding Saberi's return:
President Barack Obama said Sunday he was "gravely concerned" about Saberi's safety and well-being and was confident she wasn't involved in espionage. The U.S. has called the charges baseless and said Iran would gain U.S. goodwill if it "responded in a positive way" to the case.Any other country in the world would be outraged at the baseless arrest of one of its citizens overseas. But not Obama. He's the bigger man, a man of maturity. Hell, he's so mature his spine has gone and vaporized into dust.