18 April 2009

Iranian Court Sentences Saberi to 8 Years for Spying

The New York Times tells us that American-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi has been convicted of spying in an Iranian court and sentenced to 8 years in prison.

Scott Lucas offers food for thought about what propels the case inside Iran. I'm neither informed enough nor imaginative enough to speculate as to what may happen next. Ed Morrissey calls on Obama to drop the folksy charm so far employed toward Iran and get heavy. Morressey's suggestions strike me as Iran's biggest hope. What would be a greater success than provoking empire to come assert ourselves in our most bellicose way?

Right now the Iranians don't have much to stand on but have successfully chipped the American image. I don't think America can stand back and do nothing. But that chip becomes a deep fracture if the U.S. makes empty demands. Our escalation right now will more or less give the Iranian leadership a platform from which to fight. Lucas speculates that, hopefully, the State Department is reaching out to friends who are connected to Iran's decision makers.

No doubt this all becomes political here at home. Silence is unacceptable in the 24-hour news cycle, even on a Saturday. Immediately, expect conservatives to lambaste the administration for doing nothing (no, I don't think the pundits will have learned from last week's pirate escapades) while progressives do much the same. Fortunately, I am encouraged that the administration is sufficiently above the spin on this. I have to believe that the president, his advisers, and the Secretary of State are smart enough to wait until they have the right hand to play. Here's hoping that there is such a thing. And that Roxana Saberi can afford to wait.