15 May 2007

Iran Confirms U.S.-Based Scholar Arrest

Iran confirmed Sunday that it has detained a prominent Iranian- American academic, and a hardline newspaper accused her of spying for the United States and Israel and trying to start a revolution inside Iran.
That will be three activities at a time. Doesn't it sound like too many for a single person?
Haleh Esfandiari's arrest, part of a spate of recent crackdowns against Iranian activists, appears to reflect President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad government's growing fear that the United States is using pro-democracy advocates to promote regime change, analysts say.

Esfandiari, director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington, went to Iran on a personal visit to see her ailing mother last year. She had been prohibited from leaving for four months, then was sent Tuesday to Iran's notorious Evin prison after arriving at the Intelligence Ministry for questioning, the institute said.

Iran's Foreign Ministry confirmed her arrest for the first time Sunday, saying it was "based on law" and that the 67-year-old Esfandiari would be treated like other Iranian nationals. It gave no reason for the arrest.
When a regime incarcerates a 67-year old woman under an obviously false pretense and with an ominous "would be treated like other Iranian nationals" promise, one can only hope that this is a sign of this regime starting to crumble. Unfortunately for Ms Esfandiari and thousands other Iranian dissidents, this process will take too much time.