Misunderestimating Iran: Week 415

01/13/2009 08:48 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Bush White House and its State Department, in their final days and even as Hillary Clinton undergoes the confirmation process to become the next Secretary of State, continue to be oblivious to irony, or at least to the almost comical aspects of their records and official statements. On Sunday, the New York Times reported that George Bush specifically denied Israeli requests for assistance in bombing Iran's nuclear sites, instead advising the Israelis that covert activities were underway by the U.S. to "sabotage" Iran's efforts in gaining proficiency in nuclear technology. Given that few native U.S. citizens (and I don't mean American Indian, but Americans who don't also hold Iranian citizenship) roam about Iran, let alone its nuclear sites, at will, one supposes that Iranians working for the U.S. government, either directly or indirectly, were a part of that "sabotage" team.

Two days later, Iran announces that it has arrested four Iranians accused of working for the U.S. in attempting to undermine the Islamic government and system. Duh. The Iranians read the New York Times, even if George Bush doesn't. But perhaps the State Department doesn't, either. Where have we heard the phrase "....using charges of violating national security as a pretext for targeting...." before?


Alleged U.S. Involvement in Iran Coup Attempt (Taken Question)
Question: What is our response to the claim that the United States worked with four Iranians charged with attempting to topple the Iranian government?

Answer: Any charge against an Iranian that he/she is working with the United States to overthrow the Iranian government is baseless.

In the past, Iran has used similar charges to falsely accuse and detain civil society activists and Iranians working to enhance understanding between our two countries. We urge the government of Iran to adhere to international norms by ending its policy of arbitrarily detaining its citizens or using charges of violating national security as a pretext for targeting any Iranian citizen.