Apparently journalism now constitutes as a crime.
An Iranian-American journalist, Roxana Saberi was arrested on accounts for illegally purchasing wine in Iran. But that was just the beginning. Even though this arrest alone seemed out of line, the arrest metamorphosed into accusing her for practicing journalism with an expired Iranian pass card, which somehow led to her final accusation as a spy for the United States. It is obvious there is no clear flow of accusations to being a spy: Wine to spy?
Saberi’s situation in its entirety is absurd, in that there is no hard evidence in accusing Saberi for espionage. The Iranian government may be able to accuse her for manipulative journalistic goals, but in reality it is clear there is no connection between her profession as a journalist and ties with being an American.
At the center for Citizen Peacebuilding, an advisory board member told the Nichi Bei Times, “There is no capacity for Iranian, Iranian American journalists or any foreign journalists to do anything to harm Iranian interests and be accused of espionate”. Obviously, the Iranians either capture the journalists from a deep sense of paranoia, or simply as a mechanism to bring publicity to their abilities to hold an American “hostage”. To hold an outsider for acting out against the Iranian government seems appropriate because it is seen as a threat, but for practicing writing? This is her job as a journalist.
In a checkmate like manner, the Iran government seems to believe that holding Americans as prisoners for violating their laws is a political upper hand. According to the New York Times, the United States has played a vital role in reaching out to Iran for nearly three decades. This arrest is indicative of a political strategy where, “the arrest of a journalist [was used] to gain leverage in talks with the United States over its nuclear program and other matters”. It is true this arrest captured American’s attention, but as this analysis unfolds, the only response for Americans is to be humored that the Iranians believe arresting one journalist will ultimately give them more power.
In addition, Abbas Milani, the director of Iranian studies at Stanford University explains, “It [the arrest of Saberi] shows the difficulty the Obama administration will have in negotiating with a regime that has so little value for the lives of its citizens.” Iran seems confused that it is their childish and undemocratic mannerisms that deter them from effectively communicating with the United States. The Iranians cannot expect the Americans to interact with them responsibly or cooperatively if they irrationally take a hold of our American journalists.
Aside from Iran’s political agenda, this arrest was an indication of the insecurity of Iran as a country. As a bold journalist accurately doing her part, Saberi may have crossed the line in the eyes of the Iranian government. Her curiosity as a journalist in Iran may have triggered a fear that she would delve too far in Iranian stories that the government was not willing to reveal to the rest of the world. It is unjust that her role to spread news (that we most likely already know) warrants an arrest.
Her situation galvanized a widespread outcry by the public worldwide. On freeroxana.net, people with a common goal of human equality vocalized their opinions on the injustice of her arrest. It is clear that people worldwide do not accept Iran’s actions and support that she be released immediately. One Saberi supporter takes the situation in context of a bigger picture. He posts, “For freedom: Roxana’s, Iran’s, mankind’s”.
With expedient action, the Iranian government strategically brought attention to this Iranian-American journalist as a threat and felt compelled to accuse her on ludicrous charges with no basis. If the Iranians believe holding our people will give them more political power and will charge our citizens on no basis, then we should warn tourists that they be