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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Dana Milbank, "Imprisonment of Post reporter Jason Rezaian is a tragedy for Iran, too": Only Jason?

In a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Imprisonment of Post reporter Jason Rezaian is a tragedy for Iran, too," Dana Milbank protests the incarceration of WaPo's Tehran bureau chief since his arrest in July 2014. Milbank concludes:

"His captors have instead shown the world that the Iranian regime can be every bit as thuggish as advertised. That may be just fine with the ayatollahs, who might lose their grip if Iran’s isolation ended.

But hopefully Iran’s elected leaders will have the courage to insist on Rezaian’s release. Otherwise, it’s difficult to see how they get sufficient credibility to secure a nuclear deal, or anything else. And the Iran that Rezaian tried to bring into the world will remain a pariah."

Jason Rezaian should, of course, be released immediately. But unbeknownst to Milbank, it's not for "Iran's elected leaders" to decide. Iran's unelected Supreme Leader Khamenei runs the show.

And it's not just Rezaian. As we are told by the United Nations office of the Baha'i International Community:

"There are currently more than 100 Baha'is in prison, all on false charges related solely to their religious belief. The list includes all seven Baha’i leaders(link is external), who currently remain in prison, serving wrongful 20-year sentences for allegedly 'disturbing national security,' 'spreading propaganda against the regime,' and 'engaging in espionage.' Their arrests in 2008 and sentencing in 2010 provoked an international outcry and are the longest sentences of any current prisoners of conscience in Iran. In December 2013, the seven wrote to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to express their views on his proposed 'Iranian Charter of Citizen's Rights.'

Among the most troubling of incidents recently have been a series of cases where Baha'i women have been imprisoned with infant children. On 27 April 2013, a woman and her one-year-old child were taken to Semnan prison to serve a two-year sentence. Last year, the Baha'i International Community learned of three instances in which young babies were imprisoned along with their Baha’i mothers. A five-month-old boy was incarcerated with his mother in Semnan on 22 September 2012. In December 2012, the boy was hospitalized outside of the prison suffering from a lung disease caused by unsanitary prison conditions. His mother continues to serve a 23-month sentence. His father is also behind bars. Another baby -- the 10-month-old son of a Semnan woman who is serving a 30-month sentence -- contracted an intestinal infection and an ear condition. He was taken out of the prison by his father for tests, was prescribed medication, and is now back in prison with his mother. On 17 December 2012, another Semnan woman was imprisoned with her one-year-old child."

There are also the Kurds who are being imprisoned and executed.

In addition, let's not forget the American Christian pastor, Saeed Abedini, who has been imprisoned since the summer of 2012.

And there was the hanging of the poet Hashem Shaabani, an Iranian Ahwazi Arab.

The list continues ad infinitum.

Sorry, Dana, but it's truly time you had a better look at the monstrous regime upon which President Obama wishes to bestow a nuclear weapons arsenal within a decade, in order to ensure his personal "legacy."

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