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April 23, 2009
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Obama, Roxana, and others - By Kay Azadabeen

According to the National Public Radio (NPR), Jessie Jackson is willing to go to Tehran and ask for the release of Roxana Saberi, the Iranian-American journalist who has been arrested in Tehran. Roxana’s was born and raised in Fargo, North Dakota to a Japanese mother and Iranian father. According to associated press, she was Miss North Dakota in 1997. After obtaining her degree in communication, she became a free lance journalist. More recently she was reporting for NPR and few other media outlets. For the past few years she had been living in Iran with her fiancé, Mr. Bahman Ghobadi, the renowned Kurdish-Iranian film director. Roxana’s American press identification has expired for quite a while, but she had stayed in Iran. The authorities had closed their eyes on her expired ID. However, they arrested her after they caught her purchasing a bottle of wine.

Since it might be difficult to convince the world that drinking wine is a crime, the Iranian authorities have charged Roxana with spying. According to people who know her, she is a gentle, humble, and objective professional and there is no base for the charge she has been arrested for. Roxana’s arrest is a concern for all democratically minded Iranian in general and for the Kurdish-Iranians in particular. Apparently any Iranian is at risk of being arrested. However, the risk seems to be higher, if one has any connection with the Kurds.

About a year ago two other renowned Kurdish-Iranians, Drs. Kamiar and Arash Alaei, were arrested with the same charge. Drs. Alaei had introduced a public health program for patients suffering from AIDS, which had been recognized as the best model of health care for such patients around the world. The doctors had presented their research and clinical approach to various international communities. Considering that such a remarkable humanitarian and borderless communication might make the international community aware of the policies of the Iranian regime, the doctors had been accused of participating in a “silent revolution” against the regime. Drs. Kamiar and Arash Alaei were recently sentenced to three and six years prison respectively.

The behavior of the Iranian authorities not only indicates their inhumane policies but makes the world pay attention to them, something that they need very badly. They are giving the message that they have the power and no one can stop them, except through recognition of their system and through begging.

Recently President Obama requested the release of Roxana, while emphasizing that the administration is willing to negotiate with Iranian government at some point. To the Iranian authorities, this means they have won the battle against the Great Satan, who is begging them now. Reverend Jessie Jackson even volunteered to visit Iran and negotiate the release of the arrested young journalist. While the idea of Mr. Jackson is noble, neither he nor Mr. Obama should concede and beg the Iranian regime. They should not only request unconditional release of Roxana, but also of Dr. Alaeis and all other Iranian and Kurdish dissidents who are in prison and have been screaming when will be free or in Kurdish kay azadabeen?

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