Iran Responds to Obama Overtures By Imprisoning Iranian American Journalist
The Obama Administration has been making overtures to the Iran regime in an effort to diplomatically engage the Islamic radical regime. On March 21, President Obama issued greetings to Iran on the occasion of the Nowruz, the Persian New Year. On April 8, Vice President Joe Biden, in an interview broadcast on CNN, stated that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be "ill advised" to launch a military strike against Iran's developing nuclear facilities. Biden's statement was clearly aimed as much toward Tehran as to Tel Aviv--it was another attempt to convince the Mullahs that the Obama Administration has only peaceful attentions and wants to negotiated a diplomatic solution the crisis posed by Iran's nuclear program.
The Iranian regime responded to those overtures this week by symbolically slapping away the hand of friendship extended by the Obama Administration. This past Saturday an Iranian court, following a secret trial for alleged espionage, sentenced Iranian American journalist Roxana Saberi (photo above left) to eight years in prison. Saberi, who grew up in North Dakota and holds dual American and Iranian citizenship, has reported from Iran on behalf of the BBC and National Public Radio. She was arrested in January and has been held since then in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison. She was accused of spying on Iran, in the guise of a journalist, and passing information and documents to U.S. intelligence services. She could have been sentenced to 10 years in prison, or even with the death penalty, so no doubt some apologist for the Iranian regime will argue that the Mullahs viewed Ms. Saberi's 8-year sentence as a gesture of friendship toward the United States.
That was not, however, the reaction of the White House. The U.S. had condemned the accusations against Saberi as "baseless and without foundation." On Saturday, President Obama said he was "deeply disappointed" by the conviction, a White House spokesman said.
It remains to be seen whether the President's disappointment will influence the Iranian Islamist regime or help Ms. Sabari regain her freedom.