Saturday, April 18, 2009

Roxana Saberi

UPDATE, May 12, 2009: Video: Journalist Roxana Saberi Speaks for First Time Since Release From Iranian Jail

UPDATE, May 11, 2009: Roxana Saberi Freed

UPDATE, April 27, 2009: Roxana Saberi: In "Bad Condition"

Iran keeps testing the Obama administration, and it keeps failing.

When Obama learned that Roxana Saberi, an American journalist, was sentenced to eight years in prison on spying charges, he said he was "deeply disappointed."

That's inadequate.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran convicted an American journalist of spying for the United States and sentenced her to eight years in prison, her lawyer said Saturday, complicating the Obama administration's efforts to break a 30-year-old diplomatic deadlock with Tehran.

The White House said President Barack Obama was "deeply disappointed" by the conviction, while the journalist's father told a radio station his daughter was tricked into making incriminating statements by officials who told her they would free her if she did.

It was the first time Iran has found an American journalist guilty of espionage—a crime that can carry the death penalty.

Roxana Saberi, a 31-year-old dual American-Iranian citizen, was arrested in late January and initially accused of working without press credentials. But earlier this month, an Iranian judge leveled a far more serious allegation, charging her with spying for the United States.

The Fargo, North Dakota native had been living in Iran for six years and had worked as a freelance reporter for several news organizations including National Public Radio and the British Broadcasting Corp.

The journalist's Iranian-born father, Reza Saberi, told NPR that his daughter was convicted Wednesday, two days after she appeared before an Iranian court in an unusually swift one-day closed-door trial. The court waited until Saturday to announce its decision to the lawyers, he said.

Saberi's father is in Iran but was not allowed into the courtroom to see his daughter, who he described as "quite depressed." He said she denied the incriminating statements she made when she realized she had been tricked but "apparently in the case they didn't consider her denial."

Saberi's lawyer, Abdolsamad Khorramshahi, told The Associated Press he would "definitely appeal the verdict."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the United States was working with Swiss diplomats in Iran to get details about the court's decision and to ensure Saberi's well-being. She said in a statement the United States will "vigorously raise our concerns" with the Iranian government.

The United States has called the charges against Saberi baseless, and the State Department said Thursday that Iran would gain U.S. good will if it "responded in a positive way" to the case.

In effect, Saberi is being held hostage. Obama is being tested.
...Some conservative Iranian lawmakers played down Saberi's conviction, saying the verdict would not affect any ongoing efforts to build trust between the United States and Iran.

"Although there is a wall of mistrust between Iran and the United States, the judicial verdict won't affect possible future talks between the two countries. The verdict is based on evidence," said lawmaker Hosseini Sobhaninia.

Saberi's father disagreed, telling NPR, "I don't think they have any evidence and I haven't heard any evidence that they have made public."

It would be crazy if the U.S. responds positively to Iran given Saberi's conviction.

The Obama administration needs to grow a spine.

This young woman must be released.


Anonymous said...

Maybe the press will start to figure out that freedom loving capitalist countries, rather than dictatorships are better places to live and work.

Regarding Obama's lame reaction, Obama is naive with a huge, huge ego - a dangerous combo in today's world.

Anonymous said...

P.S. Her mother claim’s that she’s “a world-renowned journalist.” How come she has no blogs, no journals, no interviews, nothing published. The only thing there is are about five unprofessionally done several second segments supposedly for FOX about nothing of real importance. If she wants to be a real world-renowned journalist, perhaps now is the time to start. I wish her all the best! Godspeed her release and all the other political prisoners!

Mary said...

Anonymous writes: "The only thing there is are about five unprofessionally done several second segments supposedly for FOX about nothing of real importance."


That's completely false. Did you watch the YouTube clip I included in my post?

You don't know what you're talking about.

What Saberi has done professionally is easily verifiable.

Anonymous said...

Let's send Obama's aunt to Iran in trade of the LEGAL AMERICAN CITIZEN,the young journalist. Iran will take good care of her. They are Obama's close family friends.

Kween Lora said...

First off I must make the comment that I don’t believe that we can bring race into this factor. It is completely irrelevant because President Obama was picked as the leader of United States by the people and for the people. I'm not saying I support all of his choices but that does not give any people the right to judge him by his race. The problem with the United States today is that we base our opinions on appearance, religion, and other personal factors that should not affect the way we see people. It was extremely inappropriate and disappointing for me to read about people making extreme racist comments towards our president and his family. It shows me the vast amount of immaturity and lack of intelligence people have. This young lady was not shown the justice she deserved and that in itself is the topic of this blog, not the race of our president. Just because you don’t have an argument to Mary’s comment does not give you any right what so ever to make hurtful remarks about other people.

Cyd said...

Ummm...Obama, a highly inexperienced junior member of the Senate without any accomplishments to speak of was elected president because of his race. Were it not for that, Clinton would be our president now as she was certainly the more capable Democrat. So, to cry about "race" and "hurtful" comments now is way too late considering that along his gift of the teleprompter gab were the only reasons he made it to the top.

Saint Michael Traveler said...

Guilty or Innocent: Perception or Reality

Based on Iranian sources, Iranian-American journalist Ms. Roxana Saberi has implicated herself by her testimony. Guilty or innocent, she is also a victim of the political conflicts between USA and Iran, the conflicts mostly created by the past President George Bush and instigated by Israeli government and her assets.

Our previous attempts to undermine the Iranian government by creating conflict in Iran have sharpened Iranian government scrutiny of all Iranian-Americans traveling to their homeland. It is a common knowledge that our past foreign policy has severely hurt Iranian-Americans both in USA and Iran, in addition to hurting common Iranian people.

Since 1979, among those who were profiled and scrutinized were Iranian-Americans. Many Iranian-Americans, including those who were born in the United States, lost their jobs, demoted, ostracized, discriminated and forced into isolation

Post September 11, USA sensing danger from those whose aim was to hurt our country created scrutiny and security apparatus against those perceived to be dangerous to us. Is it understandable that Iranian government senses the same security risks about Iranian-Americans considering USA and Israeli overt and covert attempts to destroy Iranian government?

We hope Iranian President Ahmadinejad will pardon Ms. Roxana Saberi now. We hope President Obama will stop the dirty trick agenda of the past-Presidents since 1979, and will establish now a formal political relation with Iran.

Mary said...

Saint Michael Traveler wrote:

"Guilty or innocent, she is also a victim of the political conflicts between USA and Iran, the conflicts mostly created by the past President George Bush and instigated by Israeli government and her assets."

What are you talking about?

Conflict created mostly by Bush?

You must be kidding.

Do you recall the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979-1981?

Do you recall President Jimmy Carter?

In terms of conflict with Iran, we have Carter to thank for that. Carter was instrumental in the rise of radical Islam. That's his legacy.

Ray Errol Fox said...

Disheartening to see everyone (i.e. above) injecting and arguing their too personal politics as usual, missing the real human tragedy unfolding before them. Roxana may be a political pawn, but she also may not be. What she is is somebody's daughter and someone else's fiancee and a young woman facing a terrifying threat to her welfare and life. I've posted an impassioned open letter to her from her fiance, filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi--please see "Free Roxana" at and use the information at the bottom of the entry to make your voices heard on her behalf.

Roxi said...

Look, this woman lived and worked in Iran for six years--her press credentials expired in 2006! Why didn't she just come home? She chose to stay. She knew what country she was in and how things work there. She also should have known how that country views journalists--and working for FOX! How stupid can she be? Once she arrived in Iran she was no longer an American citizen, she was an Iranian citizen according to them--she had to know that! I have no doubt that Iran will milk this for whatever it can get in concessions from the United States, including concessions regarding its nuclear enrichment program. This country does not need this now! All because some stupid woman didn't know when to come home? I hope not! I wouldn't even let this become an issue with so much this country has on its plate already. Look, as far as I'm concerned she's been there six years, what's eight more! I'd let her rot (however, her hunger strike might shorten her stay, because I doubt if the Iranians will force feed her)! Like another poster said: maybe the press will start to figure out that freedom loving capitalist countries, rather than dictatorships are better places to live and work! God bless the USA!

Anonymous said...

I think she knew the risks of going to a woman hating country but was too much of a liberal leftist to think she could be treated like anything other than what she got.

The middle east is a breeding ground of hate and women are nothing but property there. Roxana was an idiot for going in the first place, but none of her liberal leftist friends had any brains to shop her. I hope she survives and I would hope a lesson is learned from this! Your NOT going to change hundreds of years of ingrained cultural hate and animalism.