Breaking: Iran to release Saberi

posted at 8:03 am on May 11, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The BBC reports that Iran has reversed itself on Roxana Saberi and will release her, perhaps even in the next few hours.  An Iranian appeals court reduced and suspended her sentence for espionage, although they did not choose to invalidate the conviction as Saberi had wanted:

An Iran court has cut jailed US-Iranian reporter Roxana Saberi’s sentence to two years suspended and she will be freed later on Monday, her lawyer says.

The court heard Ms Saberi’s appeal against her original eight-year prison sentence on Sunday, after an international outcry. …

The five-hour appeal was far longer than the original trial – and before it began Ms Saberi was allowed a half-hour meeting with her lawyer.

If anything demonstrates the perverted nature of Iranian “justice”, that should.  Her appeal took all of five hours and it lasted longer than the original trial.  Saberi’s 30-minute meeting with her attorney was so unusual that the BBC noted it in their report.

More notable, though, is the timing.  This seems calculated as an overture to the US, particularly to Barack Obama, and one has to wonder whether Iran meant the entire effort as a test.  They picked up Saberi just as Obama assumed office, and they charged and convicted her at lightning speed.  The Iranians may have wanted to see whether they could work with the new President, or whether he would go ballistic over Saberi’s treatment.

Obama kept whatever efforts he made on Saberi’s behalf very quiet, and apparently that worked.  The sudden reversal of the mullahs appears to indicate that they either got everything they wanted from the exercise or got frightened away.  Either is plausible, and either could be good or bad news for the US.  After Saberi returns to the US, we may find out more, but for now, it appears that the Obama administration handled this test well.  We’ll know more in the next few weeks as we gauge Iranian behavior and the inevitable series of leaks appear.  That conclusion may change if and when we discover what we traded for her release.

Update: My radio partner Mitch Berg sees a possible quid pro quo:

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demanded that Tehran immediately release the journalist during a news conference on Thursday at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels.

She earlier said the United States planned to invite Tehran to a conference on Afghanistan, in a first overture to Iran.

Mitch says that “if indeed the release was accompanied by big concessions from the US, that’s probably not a great precedent,” but we have been working with Iran very quietly over the last several years on Afghanistan already, specifically on drug interdiction.  The Bush administration also made overtures towards Iran on Afghanistan on a similar basis; the holdup wasn’t a lack of US invitation, but Iranian recalcitrance on accepting a more public connection with the US on the issue.  The Bush administration had conducted talks with Iranian representatives on Iraqi security on several occasions over the last few years, so this isn’t exactly a new concept, and wouldn’t have triggered Saberi’s release.

There may still be a stinking concession at the heart of this, but the Afghanistan conference won’t be it.

Update II: Danielle Pletka makes a fair point:

The fact is that the President of the United States just passed a test administered by the Islamic Republic of Iran.  That’s never good news.  To be fair to Barack Obama, this was exactly how George W Bush (read: Condoleezza Rice) played the game as well.  The Iranians were the ones to dole out favors, and the Americans were the ones glad to be on the receiving end.  This is a dangerous dynamic, though one that appears increasingly fruitful for rogue states like Iran and North Korea (with its own American journalists in prison).

If George Bush had won the release of Saberi, I think many on our side would be hailing his cool, calm command in crisis.  Pletka holds both administrations equally accountable for playing on Iran’s home turf, which is another fair way of looking at it.  I’m glad to see Saberi heading home, and I’ll be interested in seeing what we did or gave up to cause Iran to make such a dramatic U-turn on her case.


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one has to wonder whether Iran meant the entire effort as a test.

It was a lot more then a test, because Iran is going to say to the Obama administration, hey look what we did for the US, so now the US must do something for us. I bet a demand on the US comes out of Iran within 2 weeks after she is release.

JeffinSac on May 11, 2009 at 8:08 AM

Which neighborhood in Jerusalem did we trade for her release?

Limerick on May 11, 2009 at 8:08 AM

Excellent news,I have a daughter,she’s 18,I would be scared
to death if she was in that perdictament,in Iran!

I understand her father is on his way,to bring her back
home,to America,so,thats great news!

Irans motive is obviously questionable,who knows with
Jihadys!

canopfor on May 11, 2009 at 8:09 AM

Bet Obambi is trying to get Israel to drop it’s nukes, and let Iran have theirs. I am glad to see this woman get released, but am concerned at price in security our allies (though with Obambi you could never tell they were our allies) will pay.

catlady on May 11, 2009 at 8:10 AM

Obama didn’t do anything regarding Saberi.

He is throwing Israel to the lions and of course, Iran is pleased. What about the journos N.Korea captured?

promachus on May 11, 2009 at 8:10 AM

Obama has inimate experience dealing with radical islamic whackos, starting with his own family at holiday gatherings.

Alden Pyle on May 11, 2009 at 8:10 AM

inimate = intimate

Alden Pyle on May 11, 2009 at 8:11 AM

Cue the media gushing over smart diplomacy.

JammieWearingFool on May 11, 2009 at 8:12 AM

…it appears that the Obama administration handled this test well.

We have no idea why Iran did this, and past actions indicate they did not do it out the goodness of their hearts.

I’ll gladly give creidt where credit is due, but It’s a little early to start declaring a victory for Obama here.

FuriousAmerican on May 11, 2009 at 8:12 AM

Which neighborhood in Jerusalem did we trade for her release?

Limerick on May 11,2009 at 8:09AM.

Limerick: Thats a good question,Lim:)

Maybe on May,18,when Netanyahu comes to
the US to straighten out Hopey about Iran,
the US will know more!:)

canopfor on May 11, 2009 at 8:13 AM

They’re just spring cleaning the rape rooms.

Alden Pyle on May 11, 2009 at 8:14 AM

The part that goes un-noticed by the trolls:

Conservatives outraged over her loss of freedom. She is an immigrant, non-Christian, non-white, female, news reporter..

That isn’t supposed to be possible. As conservatives we don’t give a rat’s patudy about such ‘people’.

Limerick on May 11, 2009 at 8:15 AM

Interesting to see,how Orgasmic the MSM will be today,
in the outstanding leadership skills of a ’2 year’
Senator!(Sarc).

canopfor on May 11, 2009 at 8:16 AM

Lets review,

re: Biden,Obama will be tested!!

canopfor on May 11, 2009 at 8:17 AM

Without a doubt, whatever the Quid Pro Quo that the Obamanation Administration parlayed into her release, it did include at least the twho following:

a) American Surrender to all of Iran’s Demands, whatever they were, courtesy of The One…

b) an American “apology” by The One for American’s behaviour for letting our Journalist spy on Iran

Dale in Atlanta on May 11, 2009 at 8:17 AM

I’m glad she’s free, but my guess is the Obamessiah had nothing to do with it.

The mad mullahs sometimes do things like this for PR. I’m surprised Dinnerjacket hasn’t paraded her in a polyester suit like the British marines yet.

wildcat84 on May 11, 2009 at 8:18 AM

I am very happy for her and her family that she has been released. Now, she should stay the hell out of totalitarian countries.

Blake on May 11, 2009 at 8:20 AM

Which neighborhood in Jerusalem did we trade for her release?

Limerick on May 11, 2009 at 8:08 AM

Neighborhood? I’m sure it’s much more than that, unfortunately.

The sudden reversal of the mullahs appears to indicate that they either got everything they wanted from the exercise or got frightened away.

Ed’s rose-colored glasses are on again today. Frightened by what? An administration that won’t even say “terrorism” and a president that yucks it up with 9/11 jokes and who attended a church for 20 years that believes the attacks were our fault and something we deserved?

SouthernGent on May 11, 2009 at 8:20 AM

Saberi holds Iranian citizenship, which makes her whole trip there seem sort of amazingly stupid. Why does this little fact often get left out of the reporting? Did Saberi not know that she was ultra-vulnerable as an Iranian citizen? Do the press not understand what this means?

progressoverpeace on May 11, 2009 at 8:21 AM

maybe the CIA that bambi insulted has moved to Iran to work their “magic” on the mullahs. we can only hope.

kelley in virginia on May 11, 2009 at 8:22 AM

if this woman is Iranian, why are we even having this discussion at all?

kelley in virginia on May 11, 2009 at 8:23 AM

Did anyone notice whether Ahmadinejad was at the correspondent’s dinner? Maybe that was the prize.

BigD on May 11, 2009 at 8:23 AM

The sudden reversal of the mullahs appears to indicate that they either got everything they wanted from the exercise or got frightened away. Either is plausible

Call me crazy, but one seems a bit more likely than the other. Either that or they have seen the Obamahdi and believed

trubble on May 11, 2009 at 8:23 AM

kelley in virginia on May 11, 2009 at 8:23 AM

She is a naturalized American citizen.

Limerick on May 11, 2009 at 8:24 AM

Do the press not understand what this means?

progressoverpeace on May 11, 2009 at 8:21 AM

No they genuinely do not, they are super uber elitists, they believe themselves to be a special protected class.

doriangrey on May 11, 2009 at 8:25 AM

thanks limerick. i am following the events in Pock ee stan closer than i am for this woman.

kelley in virginia on May 11, 2009 at 8:25 AM

She is a naturalized American citizen.

Limerick on May 11, 2009 at 8:24 AM

But she is still an Iranian citizen, which means that the US has nothing to say about how Iran treats her on its territory. Her US citizenship doesn’t shield her from anything inside Iran, just as US citizenship doesn’t stop any nation from treating its own nationals as it wants within its territory.

progressoverpeace on May 11, 2009 at 8:27 AM

Cue the media gushing over smart diplomacy.

JammieWearingFool on May 11, 2009 at 8:12 AM

shrillary will be lauded as the best SOS evah! Her tireless work behind the scenes, secured Saberi’s release.

Meanwhile, hilary couldn’t even find the phone to call Iran.

rightside on May 11, 2009 at 8:27 AM

maybe if bambi & hillary spend the entire day basking in this “victory”, they won’t have time to surrender our country somewhere.

kelley in virginia on May 11, 2009 at 8:29 AM

Not sure I follow the logic here. If my Irish immigrant wife is jailed in Dublin for being a spy then that his her problem? America shouldn’t care about her freedom?

Limerick on May 11, 2009 at 8:33 AM

Limerick on May 11, 2009 at 8:24 AM

I say this because the US warns dual nationals that they will fall fully under the jurisdiction of that other country while they are within its sovereign territory.

progressoverpeace on May 11, 2009 at 8:33 AM

Whether they got what they wanted or not, they may have judged that they had nothing more to gain by holding her, and something to lose, as her plight could be rallying point against them. They may be aware of how many different weak spots Obama has, and of the possibility that several of them will break at once. Under those circumstances, if they prefer him to a GOP successor, keeping her is more costly that it’s worth.

What might they have hoped to gain? Well, intimidation, of course, of her and of other journalists. And maybe there really was something they didn’t want her to see. Or maybe someone at a lower level decided to jail and charge her on general principles, in which case it was NOT done with a strategic purpose. And maybe she was taken to see what Obama would do. I don’t see enough of the picture to guess.

njcommuter on May 11, 2009 at 8:33 AM

America shouldn’t care about her freedom?

Limerick on May 11, 2009 at 8:33 AM

America can care, but no more than for any other Iraish national who is treated the same way in Ireland, with or without US citizenship.

progressoverpeace on May 11, 2009 at 8:34 AM

maybe if bambi & hillary spend the entire day basking in this “victory”, they won’t have time to surrender our country somewhere.

kelley in virginia on May 11, 2009 at 8:29 AM

Sadly they are more likely to use it as an excuse to accelerate their capitulations.

doriangrey on May 11, 2009 at 8:34 AM

Oh, I get it…. Cavalry for me but not for thee.

Limerick on May 11, 2009 at 8:36 AM

Limerick on May 11, 2009 at 8:33 AM

This is why dual nationals need to be extra, extra careful about going back to the nations they hold citizenship in, even just for visits.

progressoverpeace on May 11, 2009 at 8:37 AM

Oh, I get it…. Cavalry for me but not for thee.

Limerick on May 11, 2009 at 8:36 AM

Not at all. For a specific example, if a US citizen enlists in a foreign army then he can lose his US citizenship. But if a dual citizen goes back to his other country and is conscripted into the military then he can’t lose his US citizenship.

progressoverpeace on May 11, 2009 at 8:39 AM

limerick: look at it this way: it was her nationalized US citizenship that got her the int’l attention. so that’s a positive.

kelley in virginia on May 11, 2009 at 8:39 AM

This is potemkin diplomacy for the rubes.

Saberi is pro-iranian.

gh on May 11, 2009 at 8:39 AM

Hugobama gave them something or promised something down the road. (Maybe the keys to Israels back door).They would not do it otherwise.

faol on May 11, 2009 at 8:40 AM

Oh, I get it…. Cavalry for me but not for thee.

Limerick on May 11, 2009 at 8:36 AM

It’s nothing like that at all, it’s a sovereign rights issue.

doriangrey on May 11, 2009 at 8:40 AM

Interesting. I wonder what our Manchurian candidate gave up in return.

darwin on May 11, 2009 at 8:43 AM

My take on this is that Iran wanted to make Obama look good, and weaken his opponents on national security issues. Obama can now say ‘look – we were nice to them, we didn’t start sabre rattling, and we got results’. The media will doubtless credit Obama with securing Saberi’s release by being reasonable, and hold this up as proof that diplomacy works.

So those who advocate taking a moderate stance on Iran are strengthened, and the hawks are weakened. And Iran gets another few months of goodwill to keep working on those nukes and meddling in Iraq, with their opponents confused and divided.

I’m pleased for Saberi, but worried for the longer term.

EnglishMike on May 11, 2009 at 8:44 AM

Interesting. I wonder what our Manchurian candidate gave up in return.

darwin on May 11, 2009 at 8:43 AM

Minnesota.

faol on May 11, 2009 at 8:45 AM

Oh, I get it…. Cavalry for me but not for thee.

Limerick on May 11, 2009 at 8:36 AM

It’s nothing like that at all, it’s a sovereign rights issue.

doriangrey on May 11, 2009 at 8:40 AM

Think of it like this. If during the Cold War, an individual holding dual US and Soviet citizenship had been arrested for spying by the United States do you think the United States should just surrender that dual citizen to the Soviet Union based solely upon their Soviet citizenship?

doriangrey on May 11, 2009 at 8:45 AM

It’s nothing like that at all, it’s a sovereign rights issue.

doriangrey on May 11, 2009 at 8:40 AM

How so?

Lois Lane gets jailed by Putin for taking a photo of a Russian license plate factory is bad…

but

Roxana Saberi gets jailed by Dinnerjacket for taking a photo of a Iranian license plate factory because she had it coming as a ‘dual’ national.

Roxana, as far as I can tell, is an American citizen, no more, no less, then Lois Lane.

Limerick on May 11, 2009 at 8:45 AM

no, bambi wants to keep minnesota because that is represented by the soon-to-be sen. al franken.

kelley in virginia on May 11, 2009 at 8:48 AM

Roxana Saberi gets jailed by Dinnerjacket for taking a photo of a Iranian license plate factory because she had it coming as a ‘dual’ national.

It’s not that she “had it coming”. She is subject to the jurisdiction of Iranian authorities in Iran and, as an Iranian national, the US has nothing to say about it above and beyond the US’ position with respect to anyone in Iran.

Roxana, as far as I can tell, is an American citizen, no more, no less, then Lois Lane.

Limerick on May 11, 2009 at 8:45 AM

In Iran, she’s an Iranian. The US is very clear in warning dual nationals about this.

progressoverpeace on May 11, 2009 at 8:50 AM

I’m sure it was Rahm Emanuel’s polite discourse that won the day.

/sarc.

bluelightbrigade on May 11, 2009 at 8:51 AM

I’m just glad she’s being released. If ‘smart diplomacy’ got the job done, so be it.

BadgerHawk on May 11, 2009 at 8:51 AM

How so?

Lois Lane gets jailed by Putin for taking a photo of a Russian license plate factory is bad…

but

Roxana Saberi gets jailed by Dinnerjacket for taking a photo of a Iranian license plate factory because she had it coming as a ‘dual’ national.

Roxana, as far as I can tell, is an American citizen, no more, no less, then Lois Lane.

Limerick on May 11, 2009 at 8:45 AM

Sorry your analogy fails at the most basic level. Roxana is an Iranian citizen, period end of story. In Iran she is a citizen of Iran. The truth here is that there is a quid pro quo in effect. We don’t tell Iran how to treat their citizens and Iran doesn’t tell us how to treat ours. OK there is a little wiggle room there, but that is the basic concept.

While physically in Iran Roxana is a Iranian citizen, 100 percent subject to Iranian laws. This fundamental concept exists essentially to prevent individuals holding dual citizenship from committing grave criminal acts and using their dual citizenship as a get out of jail card.

doriangrey on May 11, 2009 at 8:54 AM

progressoverpeace on May 11, 2009 at 8:50 AM

I’ll step aside then and try to learn more about this concept of dual citizenship. My children’s mother is Costa Rican. My wife is Irish. If they somehow ever need intervention on their behalf by the U.S. government I want to be able to tell them to why they have to think twice before asking for it.

Limerick on May 11, 2009 at 8:54 AM

My children’s mother is Costa Rican. My wife is Irish.

Limerick on May 11, 2009 at 8:54 AM

Okay, now you’re steppin’ in it, Limerick.

BigD on May 11, 2009 at 8:58 AM

limerick: wow, you take international relations to a whole new level.

kelley in virginia on May 11, 2009 at 8:58 AM

BigD on May 11, 2009 at 8:58 AM

Not sure I get that one.

Limerick on May 11, 2009 at 8:59 AM

She’s high profile, enough to show the inimate details of the Iranian “justice” system, so we should be happy she is going to back to her far superior “real” nation, us. However, I dont trust the Iranians one whit. I wonder what their play is.

thebrokenrattle on May 11, 2009 at 9:00 AM

I’ll step aside then and try to learn more about this concept of dual citizenship. My children’s mother is Costa Rican. My wife is Irish. If they somehow ever need intervention on their behalf by the U.S. government I want to be able to tell them to why they have to think twice before asking for it.

Limerick on May 11, 2009 at 8:54 AM

Dual citizenship is a double edged blade. It carries certain privileges, as well as some pretty serious obligations. In order to exercise those privileges you have to agree to surrender those privileges at the exact same time.

doriangrey on May 11, 2009 at 9:01 AM

My children’s mother is Costa Rican. My wife is Irish. If they somehow ever need intervention on their behalf by the U.S. government I want to be able to tell them to why they have to think twice before asking for it.

Limerick on May 11, 2009 at 8:54 AM

They can certainly ask for it. The question is whether any will be forthcoming. I don’t know Costa Rica, but if they had required military service for their nationals and your kids went there for a little vacation, it would be possible that they would be conscripted into the army and there would be nothing that the US could, or would, do. Also, if that country had some tax policy for all of its citizens then they could find themselves subject to that upon a minor visit, too. Basically, while they are in Costa Rica, the US views them as regular citizens of that country, like everyone else there, subject to the same laws as the rest of the Costa Ricans.

From my US passport:

9. Dual Citizens: A person who has the citizenship of more than one country at the same time is considered a dual citizen. A dual citizen may be subject to the laws of the other country that considers that person its citizen while in that country’s jurisdiction, including conscription for military service. Dual nationality may hamper efforts to provide US consular protection to dual citizens in the foreign country of their other nationality. Dual citizens who encounter problems should contact the nearest American embassy or consulate.

progressoverpeace on May 11, 2009 at 9:03 AM

How about some other theories ED

Iran did this for the PR coup, now they reap all sorts of praise of how cooperative & moderate they are over something that is in relative scale for them trivial, key thing is on the key issues they have not moderated at all, the centrifuges keep spinning away. They are very crafty in Iran. They seek to buy time, and they bought some here real cheap for them. Media makes a huge deal over ‘smart diplomacy’, moderating Iran, Obam’s the great etc etc.

Iran is also in a domestic election race, Ahmadinejad faces opposition stemming from the concept of the feud with the US, ding ding ding, he paints himself as more moderate with zero skin off his back.

The last time they kidnapped people as mentioned here (UK Sailors) was also to buy time and PR facing stiffer scrutiny over their nuke programs.. Was all win win for them. This release had less to do with Obama efforts, more to do with Iran playing the INTL community IMO.

saus on May 11, 2009 at 9:20 AM

This fundamental concept exists essentially to prevent individuals holding dual citizenship from committing grave criminal acts and using their dual citizenship as a get out of jail card.

doriangrey on May 11, 2009 at 8:54 AM

Because, of course, that’s what diplomatic passports are for.

gh on May 11, 2009 at 9:20 AM

my ex is Lebanese
they are really hot
oh yeah
yawn

JJKRN on May 11, 2009 at 9:23 AM

This release had less to do with Obama efforts, more to do with Iran playing the INTL community IMO.

saus on May 11, 2009 at 9:20 AM

What efforts?

You are probably partially correct on all three theories but the election one is the weakest. The last couple of elections have been jokes that the MSM carefully overlooked. Best evidence is that less than 10% of the population votes and the ballot boxes are 50-80% stuffed.

gh on May 11, 2009 at 9:26 AM

I sincerely hope that she was let go because nothing happened – no-one took any notice. No point in being a bully if no-one is scared.

OldEnglish on May 11, 2009 at 9:29 AM

Which neighborhood in Jerusalem did we trade for her release?

Limerick on May 11, 2009 at 8:08 AM

My thoughts exactly. Quid pro quo Mr. Obama. Ed states that they either got what they wanted or they were “frightened”. Given the current administration only Americans are frightened.

So were his recent statments about the M.E. Peace process part of the deal? Something to the effect of “show less support for Israel, give them less aid and weapons, etc.” That would be consistent with Obama’s world view – ‘those evil Israelis are so rich and powerful. I’ll just take some of their money and power and spread it around to the Palestinians.’

Onus on May 11, 2009 at 9:33 AM

How about some other theories ED

This release had less to do with Obama efforts, more to do with Iran playing the INTL community IMO.

saus on May 11, 2009 at 9:20 AM

My thoughts too. Where does the presumption come from that this has anything to do with Obama or the US gov’t?

Obama is primarily focused on overturning the ruling class in America, and managing his own image in the national and int’l media. He has a mission to accomplish and an ego to feed. In this way, he shares goals with Ahmadinejad.

Frankly, I don’t see how Ahmadinejad’s goals conflict with Obama’s. I think as long as Ahamd doesn’t interfere with Obama’s goals, Obama will play ball with the Iranians. And with respect to this person Saberi, who is an idiot if she isn’t a spy, I don’t see why Obama would give a crap about her one way or the other.

JiangxiDad on May 11, 2009 at 9:35 AM

Which neighborhood in Jerusalem did we trade for her release?

Limerick on May 11, 2009 at 8:08 AM

No Jerusalem neighborhood was traded for her release. Obama has placed the whole country of Israel on the trading block for a promise of peace. And we all know what a promise is worth over there.

Loxodonta on May 11, 2009 at 9:38 AM

I think you need to reserve judgement here. But am so glad she is released.
I do not believe for one instant that any of it points to a moderating Dinnerjacket and I do not for one minute think that Obambi or Hillary care one fig for this woman.
It will be interesting to see what kind of story comes out when she is back home.
Iran does everything for Iran. Period. Likely this is somehow all about Isreal.

ORconservative on May 11, 2009 at 9:45 AM

Soon there will be a photo of Hillary at the airport waving a signed agreement. ( Sounds familiar )

faol on May 11, 2009 at 9:47 AM

That conclusion may change if and when we discover what we traded for her release.

My money’s on the Qods Six.

Kid from Brooklyn on May 11, 2009 at 9:50 AM

I’m glad she’s been released. Until we know more, I’m going to leave it at that. No point in speculating.

nazo311 on May 11, 2009 at 9:51 AM

saus on May 11, 2009

I think Ed knows what kind of useless appeaser Ogabe is and is just trying to throw him a bone of a compliment every now and then to show he’s not a right-wing, anti-Obama idealogue. I might do the same thing in his shoes. Lucky for me I’m not and I can vent my honest opinion of that lying leftist crapweasel all the time.

SKYFOX on May 11, 2009 at 9:54 AM

To me, it’s amazing they let her go at all. Regardless of which country she holds a passport for. She could have been Dinnerjacket’s own daughter, it wouldn’t have mattered if she’d broken their “laws” and been “tried and convicted” in a “court”.

4shoes on May 11, 2009 at 9:58 AM

Whether they got what they wanted or not, they may have judged that they had nothing more to gain by holding her, and something to lose, as her plight could be rallying point against them. They may be aware of how many different weak spots Obama has, and of the possibility that several of them will break at once. Under those circumstances, if they prefer him to a GOP successor, keeping her is more costly that it’s worth.

I’m with njcommuter on this–that her capture and conviction had given too much negative PR against Iran that could result in a backlash against Iran in Western public opinion–if Iran jails a female Iranian-American journalist, what are they hiding?

In captivity, she becomes a “martyr” for the West, and an embarrassment to the Iranian regime. If she is released, but threatened with recapture if she says in Iran, she will probably return to the U.S., but the Iranians are betting that her story will soon be forgotten by the American press.

Ahmadinejad, as one of the hostage-takers in 1979, probably remembers that the long hostage crisis was one of the factors that elected Ronald Reagan, and doesn’t want that history to repeat itself with Saberi.

There might have been some concession by Obama, and it would be interesting to find out what he offered, and what Saberi has to say when she returns.

Steve Z on May 11, 2009 at 10:06 AM

How long until Barry O. takes credit for the release through a “leaked” top secret document?

Just long enough to get all the actors in position and get all the stories straight.

So I’ll guess … Wednesday or so. We’ll be treated to round the clock coverage of how Obama was personally involved in the situation and that his steadfast resolve, quick thinking and sheer brilliance led to Sabreri’s release.

BardMan on May 11, 2009 at 10:08 AM

This reminds me some of the British sailors that Iran captured and released in a way that thoroughly humiliated Britain.
Implicit in all this is that the rule of law is a joke in Iran.

Count to 10 on May 11, 2009 at 10:21 AM

Soon there will be a photo of Hillary at the airport waving a signed agreement. ( Sounds familiar )

faol on May 11, 2009 at 9:47 AM

Heh, it’s a great thing to know history! I’m a big fan of dudes like you. Here’s a photo of Chamberlain she can use with Democratic planers to model the scene.. Party favors are ON US here in Israel.

SKY FOX I never doubted it for a second.

saus on May 11, 2009 at 10:21 AM

We are all glad she will be released.

We should also bear in mind that this young female Iranian-American journalist purposely went where she was absolutely not welcome, and was prohibited as she was not accompanied at all times in public with a male adult family member, by that government.

So she made her statement. What benefit did she gain for the Westernized Iranians that they did not already have, and did she make things worse for them. And did she make things worse for us.

She should not have done what she did as she did it. She should have complied with Iranian Sharia law while in Iran so as to have ALL LEGALITY ON HER SIDE.

She did politically what evangelicals did actively proselyting in China against Chinese law.

maverick muse on May 11, 2009 at 10:23 AM

BardMan on May 11, 2009 at 10:08 AM

No doubt.

maverick muse on May 11, 2009 at 10:24 AM

Media begins lavishing praise on Uh-ohbama for garnering her release in 3..2..1..

gregbert on May 11, 2009 at 10:41 AM

Congrats. Now this apologist for Iran that you’ve been slavishly worshipping will have yet more opportunities for her apologism. Where are your blogposts about the Jews of Iran who are not allowed to leave or their families are held hostage? Oh, yeah, they aren’t the vaunted “journalists” and apologists for Iran that you so worship. Nauseating.

Debbie Schlussel on May 11, 2009 at 11:04 AM

maverick muse on May 11, 2009 at 10:23 AM

Not quite. She was hardly “proselytizing.” She was apologizing for Iran on NPR, BBC, WABC, etc.

Debbie Schlussel on May 11, 2009 at 11:05 AM

Listen guys i don’t need this right now i’ve got a lot of domestic issues going on at this time.Give a brother a break and release her i’ll owe you one. …..Promise

heshtesh on May 11, 2009 at 11:29 AM

Media begins lavishing praise on Uh-ohbama for garnering her release in 3..2..1..

gregbert on May 11, 2009 at 10:41 AM

Meanwhile, Obama surfs the web to find out who she is.

Daggett on May 11, 2009 at 11:32 AM

This seems calculated as an overture to the US

Hey, we’re gonna partially reverse an unbelievably horrible miscarriage of justice… just ’cause we’re so nice… now, how about some concessions as a way of congratulating us on only being marginally horrible?

mankai on May 11, 2009 at 11:40 AM

Why is it we give people from Iran the choice for dual citizenship? When I requested the same in 1975 (my citizenship was German at the time) I was told that since Germany had lost the war, I could not have dual citizenship, and since I was intending to stay in the US, I gave up my German citizenship! My mother, still living in Germany, still reminds me of the 8 page letter I sent home to inform my familiy why I was giving up my German citizenship….. Iran has not been exactly a friend for a while now (remember, Germany was not looked on as a friend when I made my request!), so why offer people the dual citizenship?
Also, dual citizenship indeed does have strings attached….

mkosin on May 11, 2009 at 12:29 PM

Actually, I finished reading Reading Lolita in Tehran, which described perfectly this same type of legal actions with Iranian women arrested for a variety of small crimes, such as not having their nails clipped short enough. The chaos isn’t, therefore, unusual in that system and has been that way for over a decade.

Whatever the reason, I’m delighted for her and her parents.

AnninCA on May 11, 2009 at 1:00 PM

I think this is a psychological play here….by releasing the lady they are cemeting Obama’s assumption that they have a rational side and can be talked to and reasoned with on the nukes issue…this buys them more time at the table and possibly convinces Obama the nuke program is only for peaceful purposes afterall…I mean, hey, look at how they handled the Saberi situation…these guys aren’t that bad. Sure they arrested her but in the end cooler heads prevailed. Obama likes cool heads and considers himself a cool head. Except when he has a plate of waffles in front of him of course. The man must really love his waffles.

picklecock on May 11, 2009 at 1:16 PM

The man must really love his waffles.

picklecock on May 11, 2009 at 1:16 PM

Don’t forget Auntie’s syrup.

heshtesh on May 11, 2009 at 2:59 PM

Debbie Schlussel on May 11, 2009 at 11:05 AM

Not quite/

When in Rome is my point, whether it be Tehran or Beijing.

The Ugly American flaunts whatever liberty where it does NOT apply to make waves for her own benefit at the cost of everyone else.

Whether Jew, Christian or the other Muslim sects in Iran’s political outs, I agree with your point. No one’s helping them, as if they don’t exist. Which is Achmedinijad’s point. And so far as the Christian, Jew, Hindu or Buddhist are concerned, is Obama’s point.

maverick muse on May 11, 2009 at 3:20 PM

Which neighborhood in Jerusalem did we trade for her release?

Limerick on May 11, 2009 at 8:08 AM

No Jerusalem neighborhood was traded for her release. Obama has placed the whole country of Israel on the trading block for a promise of peace. And we all know what a promise is worth over there.

Loxodonta on May 11, 2009 at 9:38 AM

Double down.

We all know what a promise is worth HERE.

words, just words

maverick muse on May 11, 2009 at 3:27 PM

Glad she’s free, but did she get a gift bag?

Maquis on May 11, 2009 at 6:56 PM