The Iranian mullahs continue their crackdown on those who demonstrated against their fraudulent election. Today they announced that Kian Tajbakhsh, an Iranian-American scholar and an American citizen, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison:
Iran ignored appeals by Hillary Rodham Clinton and even rock star Sting and sentenced an Iranian-American academic to 12 years in prison Tuesday for his alleged role in anti-government protests after the country’s disputed presidential election.
Even rock star Sting? Wow, that’s amazing. Until now, has Mr. Sumner had great success in springing dissidents from Islamist prisons? Maybe I missed those news stories. There was a time when an appeal on behalf of an American citizen by the U.S. government would be expected to have more impact than a plea by a rock musician. Those were the good old days, evidently: Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead, and all that.
The sentence for Kian Tajbakhsh was the longest prison term yet in a mass trial of more than 100 opposition figures, activists and journalists in the postelection turmoil.
The longest sentence so far, yet news accounts offer no explanation as to what Mr. Tajbakhsh did to deserve arrest, let alone a 12 year sentence. Apparently he was arrested at his home, not at a demonstration. News of his sentence was coupled with reports of lenient treatment given to a Canadian citizen:
At the same time, Iran allowed another defendant to leave the country–Canadian-Iranian Maziar Bahari, a Newsweek journalist arrested in the same crackdown who had been freed on bail over the weekend.
Bahari joined his British wife, who is in the last days of her pregnancy, in London, Newsweek said on its Web site Tuesday.
It could be a coincidence. But news accounts certainly raise a question whether the mullahs are publicly sticking their finger in the Obama administration’s eye, letting a Canadian go while sentencing an American to 12 years for doing nothing, as far as we know, that could plausibly be regarded as illegal.
The Obama administration has shown great solicitude for citizens of foreign countries who have been captured on the battlefield while attacking American soldiers. Can the administration work up a similar level of concern for an apparently innocent American citizen who has been made a pawn by Iran’s extremist leaders? We’ll see. It would be a departure for Obama’s administration to actually try to advance American interests or defend American citizens.