The Iranian intelligence services are constantly announcing the capture and arrest of spies that gather classified information for the Western countries. Roxana Saberi, an American-Iranian journalist is the latest person to be facing such a charge.
Most people who have been accused of spying are detained without access to a lawyer or any other fair and free judicial process including a just trial. Usually they are released from prison after a few months. Surprisingly, most of these people then leave Iran within a few more months. This has made the government in Tehran the only government on the earth that catches and releases its spies.
The authorities have announced that Roxana has accepted all of the charges. No surprise! Many prisoners do accept all the charges after spending a few months in solitary confinement under huge psychological and physical pressure. To understand why, here is a joke that masterfully tells the story of how Iran's intelligence service operates:
Once there was a competition between Iran, the U.S. and Russia's intelligence services. The challenge was; who could find a rabbit in the Amazon in the shortest amount of time. The Russians do their very best and they bring the rabbit back in three days. The Americans use their entire cutting edge satellite technology and they find the rabbit in 2 days. The Iranians come back after 24 hours with a bear. The Americans and the Russians say to Iranians "But that's not a rabbit! Where is the rabbit?" And the Iranians say, "Ask the bear." And the bear says, "I am the rabbit. Believe me, I am the rabbit."
Practically anyone in Iran who has anything to do with politics knows this story. This psychology has been used in Iran to "catch spies" showing itself of being one of the most paranoid intelligence services on the planet. Many countries use different techniques to obtain information. The media reports countries finding spies all the time. Iranians should also be concerned about such activities. But the serial arrest of ordinary people accused of such activities just exemplifies the level of paranoia over normal concerns. But instead of arresting professionals, scholars and academics and forcing false confession letters and asking them not to talk about their time in prison, Iran should enhance their intelligence techniques and go after real spies.
The fact that the Iranian government consistently comes up with news of the arrest of a "spy", show a great amount of incompetency and desperation in its intelligence services.
Also, the arrest of American-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi shows the lack of rule of law in Iran. The Iranian judicial procedures by law must allow legal counsel and are not allowed to use statements taken under pressure as facts. In almost all of the similar cases the Iranian authorities have never bothered to show any evidence on these charges and more or less, it is a case of the rabbit and the bear.
Roxana Saberi will leave the prison soon, and shortly after the court will drop all the baseless charges against her and the Iranian authorities add, yet, another page to their infamous record of human rights violations.