Accueil > Articles in English > IRAN : SABERI-EBADI-GHOBADI AFFAIR


© IRAN-RESIST.ORG – April 23 2009 | The tensions with the United States considered, at the end of January 2009, Tehran took it out on Roxana Saberi, an Iranian who set up in the United States but who works in Iran.It hoped for a strong-armed intervention from the Obama administration so to protest against the interference into the American affairs and avoid any future dialogue with the Americans. In the absence of such intervention, Tehran gets ready to free this hostage who became useless or even inconvenient. This release will be however a new spectacle with the participation of Shirin Ebadi and Bahman Ghobadi, two media faces of the mullahs’ regime.
Decodings of how and why |

The arrest | Since the end of January, Roxana Saberi is locked up. She was arrested for having purchased bottles of alcohol ! The arrest took place when Obama officially held out his hand toward Tehran to offer a dialogue free of previous conditions in order to make the mullahs move so they make the first step toward Washington.

The stakes | However when Obama mentioned this dialogue free of previous conditions, he solely renounced to the requirement of enrichment suspension without therefore freezing the American sanctions that heavily penalize Iran. The fact to accept dialoguing and compromising in those conditions would have been synonymous for Tehran of being defeated by the American sanctions. By accepting to make the first step, Tehran would have justified also the sanctions that are against it regarding as well its nuclear technology as its support to the Hamas and the Hezbollah. By justifying those sanctions, Tehran would have given de facto reason the Americans who classified the Hamas and the Hezbollah among terrorist movements. Accepting the hand held by Obama would be equivalent to an entire capitulation.

However the main difficulty is that Tehran cannot refuse directly because this would be synonymous of a suspect nuclear program. This is why Tehran went in search of a provocation to make the Americans react or by default to make the process derail. One of the first attempts was the abusive arrest of Roxana Saberi at the end of January 2009.

The Saberi affair | In accordance with the new sidestepping tactic towards Iran, Washington didn’t take up any official position about this arrest. To overcome such inaction, Tehran weighted down the charge by mentioning an illegal exercise of journalism. This is nonsense because in Iran, in the absence of accreditation, the person who would have journalistic ambitions cannot access to any area or any place where something is happening. Washington didn’t react.

On the 9 April, the anniversary date of the Iranian-American diplomatic relations breakdown in 1979 at the initiative of Washington, Tehran announced the charging of Saberi for espionage and fixed the date of her trial not before April. Washington dodged again. Even worse, it also dodged the nuclear announces that were proclaimed the same day by the regime by saying that it was skeptical regarding its authenticity. Tehran then mentioned its refusal of any dialogue about the nuclear technology and reformulated its invitation for a capitulation. Irritated by the passivity of Washington, Tehran cracked down via Saberi’s case by announcing the end of her trial and her sentence for spying. Washington again dodged by just issuing personal opinion on the inconvenience this would cause to the victim and her family. Obama didn’t call at all for her release as it is claimed by the AFP and wished by Tehran : he said that she should have the right to be free !

Such passivity put the mullahs in a fix : they hoped that by taking a journalist in hostage the media would make a prodigious fuss that would force Washington to make the first step or to drop its initiative of appeasement. In the absence of such a fuss, it gained nothing and on the top of that it appeared as a super-villain. We prognosticated some productions to get rid of this inconvenient hostage and the mullahs which we know well proved us right, 3 days only after such forecast !

Ebadi | At first, Ahmadinejad ordered that the convicted had the possibility to benefit from the best defenders of Iran. Wow ! Immediately Shirin Ebadi intervened to announce from Berlin that she would take charge of her during her appeal trial.

From memory, let us remind that this woman has a very low humanitarian toll : there were several hanging of political prisoners in Iran those past weeks and she didn’t condemn them. As revenge, she put her fame at the service of the regime to ask Obama to freeze the sanctions against the mullahs and accept to dialogue with no previous conditions, including those regarding the violation of Human Rights !

Her arrival is suspicious because the day after the arrest of Roxana Saberi, Shirin Ebadi was in Paris where she had been received by Bernard Kouchner. Then she didn’t say anything to condemn this grotesque arrest for alcohol purchasing and later on she didn’t even express herself about her detention for illegal exercise of journalism or her charging of espionage. She aligns with this media trial that is linked with the United States and she won’t forget to remind her attachment to dialogue in order to obtain for the mullahs what they didn’t manage to get with the successive change of accusations.

If Obama’s administration tries to commit Tehran despite itself to make the first step, Tehran means to return the favor by using Ebadi, the mother of the regime’s virtue, who will use her fame of Peace Nobel Prize to urge the Americans to make the first step !

With such vital operation for its survival, the regime will benefit from the context to mention the “judicial freedom in Iran”, an irrefutable proof of democracy. To this end, as a good little soldier of the regime and as it is the use in her speeches, Ebadi asserted her faith in the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a text that however insists in its preamble on the inferior status of women… This kills two birds with one stone.

This is rather clever. We mentioned her entrance in stage in the first article we dedicated to this affair. As it was the case in the first part of this affair, Tehran hopes for an exaggerated mediation to make Washington ill-at-ease so that it makes the first step.

That’s why Ebadi launched her speech from Berlin where she staying in order to receive a “Price for Human Dignity” presented by Horst Köhler, the president of Germany, the greatest trade partner of Iran and also a partner for its propaganda.

Ghobadi | However, as it fears small media coverage in the United States, Tehran parried an attack with a certain Bahman Ghobadi, a supposed dissident cineaste who, following the example of Ebadi, plays the persecuted role but who travels endlessly all around the world with a passport of the regime so to suggest that the Westerners should work with Iran -and particularly with its regime.

Bahman Ghobadi just publicized a very tearful open letter in which he states that Roxana stayed in Iran not to spy but because she was “in love with him” and that he was going through a “serious nervous breakdown” because he was “given a compulsory order of residence”. That’s why he asks to the Supreme Guide to show leniency.

The issue is that this man was never persecuted or given a compulsory order of residence : on May 2008, he was in Bahrain then in Berlin for the promotion of his latest movie. In this city, he tried to pick up the Spanish director Guillermo Arriega to make him shoot in Iran. Then he went successively to Kazakhstan -for a Eurasian movie festival- and to Poland, then to Turkey : this information is published on his website. Ghobadi doesn’t shoot anymore : he doesn’t have the time because he goes from festival to festival to try to pick the stars up and make them come to Iran. On his website, he published the images of his lobbying efforts but he forgot to put one of his best taken photos : Sharon Stone wearing a scarf in Tehran. But that’s not everything !


On the 8 April, date of the charging of Roxana Saberi, his depressed and under compulsory order of residence lover was in Harvard to talk about the state of the world. But he didn’t see fit to mention the case of her beloved to the Western media.

A week after, on the 15 April, while the regime had invited in Iran businessmen linked to the business, culture and tourism field, this depressed and under compulsory order of residence lover was in Brussels for a conference in the headquarters of the UE to suggest that the Europeans should show further interest for Iranian culture. In the course of this meeting, this man who was given a compulsory order of residence also prepared the program of the Venetia Biennale that will try to show a different image of Iran. During this meeting, he didn’t see fit to mention his beloved who was being tried for spying.

We cannot imagine that this guy travels across the world, carefree, while his beloved is having filed for espionage, a crime that is normally punished by hanging in Iran.

Another incoherence into his tale : according to the interviews he gave before being involved in this matter, there was talk of settling in Germany to make his next movie before going to the United States to make another movie for Dream Works. We then don’t see why he would have asked Roxana Saberi to stay in Iran as he was himself about to go.

The truth is that this regime lobbyist is expected to go next week to the United States for a promotional tour. The regime involved this toad in this affair in the role of the lover of the beautiful Roxana, a role in which our young retired movie-maker and true lobbyist can make noise on the case of Saberi during his tour in the universities or on TV in order to plead the necessity of dialogue between people… Such as Ebadi, he will say that it’s the United States that should give good example by making the first step.

However such efforts are without interest since Washington won’t sacrifice its strategy toward Iran for the nice eyes of Roxana. She remains an inconvenient guest although Tehran hopes to succeed in putting Washington in a difficult situation with its Peace Nobel Prize laureate. Roxana will be released when the regime will consider the case counterproductive for itself but also for Ebadi.

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The french version of this article :
- Iran : Affaire Saberi – Ebadi – Ghobadi
- (23 AVRIL 2009)

| Mots Clefs | Institutions : Diplomatie (selon les mollahs) |
| Mots Clefs | Terrorismes : Prise d’otages |

| Mots Clefs | Décideurs : OBAMA |
| Mots Clefs | Enjeux : Rétablir les rel. avec les USA & Négociations directes |

| Mots Clefs | Réformateurs & dissidents : Shirin Ebadi |
| Mots Clefs | Resistance : FAUSSE(s) OPPOSITION(s) |
| Mots Clefs | Resistance : Lobby pro-mollahs en France et ailleurs |