View Full Version : So what the hell is Iran up to here?

Sun Wukong
10th June 07, 08:52 PM
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran's confirmation Sunday that it has detained a fourth Iranian-American -- this one a peace activist from California -- seems certain to further rile relations between the two countries, already tense over Iran's nuclear program.

The United States has sharply criticized the detentions, but Iran insists America has no right to interfere.

Mohammad Ali Hosseini, the spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry, confirmed at his weekly news briefing that Iranian-American Ali Shakeri had been detained.

It was the first official confirmation, although the student-run ISNA news agency on Friday reported that Shakeri, of Lake Forest, California, was being held and investigated by the security department of the Tehran prosecutor's office.

Shakeri, founding board member of the University of California, Irvine, Center for Citizen Peacebuilding, is the fourth dual citizen detained in Iran in recent months.

Iranian officials previously confirmed the detentions of three other Iranian-Americans: scholar Haleh Esfandiari, who is the director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Kian Tajbakhsh, an urban planning consultant with George Soros' Open Society Institute; and journalist Parnaz Azima, who works for U.S. funded-Radio Farda.

Detainees accused of endangering Iran's national security

All three have been accused of endangering Iran's national security and of espionage, according to a judiciary spokesman. It is not known if Shakeri has been accused of specific wrongdoing.

They were in Iran visiting family members or engaged in professional work, according to the U.S. State Department and their relatives and employers.

U.S. President George W. Bush has demanded that Iran "immediately and unconditionally" release them, and has denied that they were spying for the United States. Family, colleagues and employers have also denied the allegations.

Bush's remarks have drawn sharp criticism from Iranian officials, with Tehran accusing Bush earlier this week of interfering in Iran's internal affairs.

Iran has also escalated accusations against the United States, saying last month it uncovered spy rings organized by the United States and its Western allies.

Meanwhile, five Iranian officials detained in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil by U.S. troops in January remain in U.S. custody. The U.S. military has said they are suspected of links to a network supplying arms to Iraqi insurgents -- an accusation that Iran has denied.

In an interview with The Associated Press this week, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that as unwarranted as the current detentions are, they would not stop the United States from trying to engage Iran on other matters,
including its disputed nuclear program and alleged support of insurgents in Iraq.

"We take seriously the holding of any American anywhere in the world where they are being wrongly held and where they are being accused of things that clearly are untrue," Rice said. "It just shows again what kind of regime this is."

But the detentions appear to have further cast in doubt what was expected to be a second round of direct American-Iranian talks on Iraq this month. The talks have been billed as a possible window to better relations.

The U.S. and Iranian ambassadors in Iraq met last month in Baghdad and although they limited the agenda to Iraq's instability, the talks were groundbreaking, as the first formal diplomatic meeting in nearly three decades.

After the meeting, Iranian Ambassador Hassan Kazemi Qomi said the two sides would meet again in less than a month.

In the interview with AP, Rice said the United States has not yet determined "when and if it makes sense" to continue the dialogue with Iran.

On Sunday, Tehran also cast doubt on whether the talks would take place.

Hosseini, the foreign ministry spokesman, said that Iran had not agreed to a second round and that the Iranians were studying the results of the May 28 talks and would decide later whether to continue them.

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki later signaled Iran would be willing to continue the talks. "Iraq should not be a scene for settling scores with any country. All should help in removing current problems of (Iraq)," Mottaki said in veiled criticism of the United States.

No word on former FBI agent

The United States has also expressed concern about former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who the United States says has been missing since March after traveling to an Iranian resort island on private business.

Hosseini reiterated Sunday that Iran has no information about Levinson.

Hosseini also accused the United States of using scientific and research cooperation as a guise to work against Iran. It was not clear what he referred to, but many academics have criticized Iran for arresting scholars.

The United States broke off ties to Tehran after the storming of the U.S. Embassy there in 1979 and the seizure of U.S. diplomats as hostages. Iran held the Americans for 444 days, and the episode sealed Iran as the principal U.S.
adversary in the Middle East.

Sun Wukong
10th June 07, 08:53 PM
Just wanted to put this up for debate.

10th June 07, 09:29 PM
Fucking Iran.

11th June 07, 08:06 AM
Simple. It's a "Look, my brother Iranians, the Great Satan has sent eeeeevil infiltrators into our great and noble Vaterland of Muslimity in order to introduce McDonalds and gay anal buttsecks! Fight the infidel plague, back your government!" thing. Oh, and its also more muscle-flexing and trying to provoke an attack, which they, as has previously been stated, do not resent all that much.

Iran should, IMO, be defeated the same way the USSR was defeated: By waiting until its unworkable political system collapses in on itself. By reading various newssources and talking to people who've spent a lot of time in Iran/Persia, it looks to me like the Iranian government are far from feeling secure in their thrones at the moment.

11th June 07, 07:28 PM
Look, my brother Iranians, the Great Satan has sent eeeeevil infiltrators

Does anyone here believe the CIA is above using a "peace activist" as a cover for its operatives?

Because anyone who does is incredibly naive.

11th June 07, 11:58 PM
From what I've heard, many are seeing the recently publicized (for God knows what reason) American plan to "destabilize" Iran as the immediate cause behind this. It may well be that none of these people are agents, but it's pretty stupid to say you plan to destabiize a country by doing espionage x, y, and z and not realize the excuse you're providing them.


Actually, it may not have been stupidity but sabotage- possibly in the form of mutiny by the intelligence community who wanted the plan to fail before it started so they wouldn't have to carry it out. Alternatively, there's been many people pushing hard for a military strike, and they may have leaked it as well so it failed. Either way, our government may be going down the toilet faster than we thought if such factions exist.

Sun Wukong
12th June 07, 02:02 AM
Does anyone here believe the CIA is above using a "peace activist" as a cover for its operatives?

Because anyone who does is incredibly naive.

That's one of the things that's keeping me on the fence. However, I'm pretty sure Iran's intelligence network is pure shit. Just a hunch.

I kinda have the feeling that these are random arrests by the government more in an attempt to intimidate rational dissent, By painting different independent groups that don't like them as being hiding places by spies who want to topple the government they can discredit and destroy their critics.

That's what I feel anyway.

12th June 07, 08:34 AM
With all the chest pounding going on by the US, I'd be suprised if these ppl WEREN'T spies. I'm bettin US agencies have blanketed that country with agents.

(I've been reading a lot of spy/intelligence books lately :D )

12th June 07, 09:09 AM
Then maybe there will actually BE WMDs this time when the US decides to invade because of them.

Sun Wukong
12th June 07, 08:21 PM
If we are blanketing the area with Spies, I'm all for it. It's a far better thing than blanketing the area with high explosives.

13th June 07, 12:03 AM
Does anyone here believe the CIA is above using a "peace activist" as a cover for its operatives?

Because anyone who does is incredibly naive.

The idea of using a cover guaranteed to attract the attention of an oppressive government is incredibly stupid.

Sun Wukong
13th June 07, 04:48 AM
Not if it makes them look bad. Arresting peace activists kinda add's fuel to the "world police" fire. It makes the unpopular US gov't seem more credible in it's terror assertions.

13th June 07, 08:21 AM
or it could be that the current Iranian administration is pandering and fear mongering to detract from the failures of their domestic policy.

Remember please that the current president of Iran ran his campaign on a domestic economic cleanup and improvement platform... which has not done well... half of his anti-american posturing is to distract the population from that.

Of course the American administration plays into that hand nicely

13th June 07, 09:00 AM
Antifa has the correct by the scrotum.

13th June 07, 06:30 PM
The idea of using a cover guaranteed to attract the attention of an oppressive government is incredibly stupid.
Do you think they have a lot of options for believable cover stories? I'm pretty sure there's no embassy there (very common choice for cover story for intelligence agencies) and there's no student exchanges. There also aren't that many business men travelling to Iran.

I think ANY american going to Iran is going to attract the attention of the government, seeing how paranoid they are of American aggression.

I think its a 50/50 chance that this is either an Iranian proganda plan, or that they legitimetly caught an american spy.