Thursday, April 16, 2009

the colour of your nettle

David Pryce-Jones highlights the case of American-Iranian Roxana Saberi which sounds achingly familiar to an old Canadian one.
The case of Roxana Saberi is extremely troubling. She has dual American-Iranian nationality, and in the eyes of the Iranian authorities that fits her up perfectly for a political experiment. According to press reports, she was freelancing for the American broadcaster National Public Radio until 2006 when she had her credentials revoked. Since then, she has been in Tehran preparing for a master's degree and doing research for a book. Earlier in the year she was arrested, charged with buying a bottle of wine and, of course, being a spy. At a one-day trial she was found guilty, and is now in the dreaded Evin prison awaiting her sentence.

Pryce-Jones goes on to speculate this is an Iranian test of the Obama Administration:

The Iranians are testing the frame of mind in Washington. They have heard President Obama lamenting over past American policy, and offering change, indeed pleading for friendship. Negotiations are in the air. It is even being suggested that in the event of agreeing to negotiations the Iranians need not suspend their nuclear development, hitherto a condition for proposed talks. The mullahs are in the process of discovering whether Washington might be willing to make further concessions. Hillary Clinton has expressed “deep concern” over Roxana Saberi, and if weasel words of the kind are the sum total of Washington's response then the conclusion will be that the United States can be pushed into abandoning its national interest and instead pursuing a policy of appeasement of the mullahs, in spite of their warmongering quite as evidently as the Nazis.

I suspect Pryce-Jones is right and the Iranians are testing the waters by pushing the diplomatic envelop. The question becomes - will the Obama Administration blow, suck, and swallow, like Canada or Britain has done in the recent past, or will the US Admin show a spine? I am betting on blow, suck and swallow but I am hoping I am wrong.

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