Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Ramin Jahanbegloo: What Iran Does to Citizens Who Are Serious About Dialogue With The West

As I type this, Dr. Ramin Jahanbegloo begins a fourth week behind bars in Iran. Even as Tehran's government postures around overtures toward dialogue with the West, Jahanbegloo, a noted Iranian political philosopher specializing in Western/Iranian relations, cross-cultural dialogue, modernization and non-violence remains jailed by the hardline government without any formal charge. Jahanbegloo, a professor at the University of Toronto, was detained without reason in Tehran on April 29 and is reportedly being held at the notorious Evin prison, recalling in chilling detail the Zahra Kazemi tragedy. Follow Jahanbegloo's case here.

It seems to me that Prof. Jahanbegloo would be just the kind of person to whom Iran would turn if the regime were serious about detente. Unfortunately for Jahanbegloo and the rest of us, the only thing Tehran is serious about is retaining power and silencing opposition. How very liberal and open of them.

Jahanbegloo's plight exposes the duplicity inherent in Iran's bogus calls for dialouge that continued this week. This man was jailed while the ink on Ahmadinejad's "great overture" was practically wet. They're mocking us, America, and they're hoping we don't notice. They're hoping that we, weary from Iraq, will buy the idea of Iran as the peace-eager victim of an imagined White House war machine and ignore the writing actually being scrawled across the diplomatic wall. They're banking on the fact that we're as stupid as they think, and how we handle the larger situation will prove them right or wrong.


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