Independent reporting on human rights, environmental and conflict issues

Tehran Wishes

© Anne Holmes

I’ve had more than enough time to share my future travel plans with friends and family. I’ve been waiting almost exactly a month for the Iranian embassy in Paris to decide whether or not they would let me visit their country. In the meantime, their government back home has been making rather interesting headlines of late, headlines which raised a great deal of eyebrows whenever I mentioned I was planning to visit some friends in Tehran. Ah yes, the British “hostages,” the French researcher who had his papers confiscated for taking photos of a religious procession, and Ahmadinejad’s refusal to stand down on the nuclear issue. I think I may be starting to understand a little bit of what so many of my Iranian friends have gone through when travelling to the States, though, I know I have it so much easier.

The Iranian government seized a handful of sailors, who may or may not have been trespassing in their waters, paraded them as meek, appologetic children on television, showing them eating nuts and berries, smoking, laughing and playing pingpong, and after a couple weeks, sent them on their merry way home as a gift for Easter/Passover. Was that a hostage crisis or a vacation? I found it rather entertaining. Seriously, what were they going to do with these sailors, send them to another country, torutre them to get false confessions out of them, and then hold them without charging them for years in a prison, say, somewhere in Cuba?

To me this was a rather civil slap across the face in response to the US abduction of 5 Iranian officials in Iraq this January, decades of sanctions, and the constant threat of invasion, not to mention a CIA-led coup that deposed one of the most progressive leaders and thinkers of the 20th century. Who’s really the bad guy here?


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