RUMI shirts by Arash Norouzi

Roxana Saberi’s False Imprisonment
As Chronicled in Her Book "Between Two Worlds"

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project
| March 1, 2009      
[Updated April 19, 2010]

Roxana Saberi's book 'Between Two Worlds' Journalist Roxana Saberi’s outrageous ordeal at the hands of the Islamic regime in Iran has been chronicled in her new prison memoir, Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran. As she describes, her interrogators—obsessed with CIA conspiracy theories—insisted that she was a foreign spy; eventually threatening her into a forced confession which she later recanted. Of the false 'spying’ charges against her, Saberi writes:

“The idea was ludicrous, but I should have known my interrogation would lead to this. Iranian hard-liners seemed to believe that foreign spies were lurking behind every corner. As proof of their claims, they often pointed to news reports of covert activities against the Islamic Republic and the role played by U.S. and British intelligence agencies in the overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected prime minister in 1953. But while the Iranian regime had legitimate security concerns, hard-liners frequently exploited these concerns by blaming domestic problems on foreign “hidden hands” and by using their cries of “espionage” to justify tightening their grip on power.”

Saberi recalls once attending a pro-regime rally in Tehran with a young female acquaintance, and witnessed some in the crowd, particularly the youth, openly mocking the proceedings.

“Tens of thousands of Iranians were already milling about Freedom Square when we arrived. Some were holding effigies of President Bush, and others were carrying signs saying “Death to America!”.

Fatemeh believed this slogan was aimed not at the American people but at the American government. Washington had supported the shah, she said, was behind the 1953 coup that overthrew Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, and backed Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq War.

I had heard such sentiments many times before, sometimes from ordinary Iranians and frequently from Iranian officials.”

Roxana Saberi Freelance journalist Roxana Saberi moved to Tehran in 2003 to work, and planned to return to the United States sometime in 2009. Yet her sudden arrest on January 31, 2009 disrupted her plans, which included completing a book about life in Iran. In 2006, her press credentials were revoked for unknown reasons, but Iran continued to tolerate her limited reporting inside the country. Then, the government charged her with reporting illegally and incarcerated her in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison with an eight year sentence.

Saberi, 31 (shown here with former President Mohammad Khatami), is a native of Fargo, ND, and a former Miss North Dakota. Her father, Reza Saberi, is Iranian and her mother is Japanese. She has reported for the BBC, FOX News, IPS, PBS and National Public Radio.

Dual citizens like Saberi have been detained, arrested or jailed with alarming frequency. In October 2008, CSUN student Esha Momeni was arrested and jailed in Evin prison for unspecified charges. The following month, pro-IRI Canadian blogger Hossein Derakshan was arrested during a visit to Iran on charges of ‘spying for Israel’ and has not been heard from since.

And the Islamic Republic regime routinely jails reporters, blocks web sites and shuts down newspapers with impunity.

[Posted March 1, 2009]


Related links:

Esha Momeni Arrested in Iran and Sent to Evin Prison

Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi's Memoir "Iran Awakening"

Watch the PBS Documentary Neda Agha Soltan: A Death In Tehran

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

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