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The Washington Post reports that Iranian authorities are now accusing three respected Iranian-American academics of anti-Iranian espionage.
Jamshidi said the same charges also had been lodged against Kian Tajbakhsh, an urban planning consultant who also has worked for the World Bank, and journalist Parnaz Azima. No trial date has been announced and Jamshidi said the investigation against all three is continuing.
Azima, who works for the U.S.-funded Radio Farda, was detained but released and barred from leaving the country. It was the first time the government has confirmed the arrest of Tajbakhsh, who was believed to have been taken into custody around May 11, according to George Soros’ Open Society Institute.
These named are added to that of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Haleh Esfandiari, and to former FBI agent Robert Levinson, seized around the time of the hostage talks concerning the fifteen British sailors and marines.
Esfandiari and Tajbakhsh are well-known in U.S. national security circles for their harsh criticism of the Bush administration and its war-making design against Iran. Their seizure has the effect, which one would think counterproductive from an Iranian perspective, of silencing the voices who most aggressively advocate that America turn from military means to a policy of constructive engagement with Iran.
As the arrests mount and identical charges are raised, it seems that someone in Tehran has evolved a plan which extends the prior incident involving the British sailors and marines, this time targeting persons with tighter American connections. Either this is a conscious act of provocation – providing Dick Cheney with just the causus belli that he has been feverishly looking for, or it is to support negotiations for a swap of the five Iranians sent to establish a consulate in Arbil, seized in an American raid, and still held in Iraq for no apparent reason. The “bargaining chips” approach seems closer to the mark to me, especially since the charges raised seem to mock those cited against the Iranians in Arbil.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
In Havana, the past year has been marked by a parade of bold-faced names from the north — John Kerry reopening the United States Embassy; Andrew Cuomo bringing a delegation of American business leaders; celebrities ranging from Joe Torre, traveling on behalf of Major League Baseball to oversee an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team, to Jimmy Buffett, said to be considering opening one of his Margaritaville restaurants there. All this culminated with a three-day trip in March by Barack Obama, the first American president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. But to those who know the city well, perhaps nothing said as much about the transformation of political relations between the United States and Cuba that began in December 2014 as a concert in the Tribuna Antiimperialista.
Chances that a Republican man believes that “poor people have hard lives”:
A school in South Korea was planning to deploy a robot to protect students from unwanted seductions.
Nuremberg’s Neues Museum filed a criminal complaint against a 91-year-old woman who completed a crossword puzzle that was in fact a $116,000 piece of avant-garde Danish art.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”