Foreign Affairs Friday: Iran Reporter Followup

Yeah, I know it's Saturday, but let's proceed anyway. In our last installment, I wrote about Roxana Saberi, the North Dakotan reporter arrested in Iran. Well, she's home now, and she did an interview with NPR that was interesting. The transcript is here. In the interview, she clarifies some of the reports that came out during her captivity.

First, she did not get in trouble for buying alcohol. This is what her captors told her to tell her parents when she was first able to call them. Second, she denies the report that a CIA officer tried to recruit her, but she does it in a suspicious-sounding way:

MS. SABERI: He may have been referring to the false confession I made, but that was – my confession was false and I thought I had to fabricate it to save myself. So I don’t want to really say any more about this person, because it was false.

MS. BLOCK: So the name and the – I mean, there’s a fair amount of specificity in what he was saying here, this name, Mr. Peterson, invented out of whole cloth? Was this part of the government evidence and you’re now saying it’s absolutely not true?

MS. SABERI: I don’t really want to say any more about this person because it was completely false and I recanted it before my first trial.

MS. BLOCK: Recanted it while you were still in prison before you came to trial.

MS. SABERI: Yes, mm-hmm.

I don't know what to make of her unwillingness to talk about this. Maybe the meeting really did occur, and she declined the request to spy, but she doesn't want to blow the officer's cover. But that's pure speculation on my part.

Third, she also says there was no charge for working in Iran without a press pass.

Saberi also talks about some of the women she interacted with while in prison. It sounds like it was a great help and encouragement to her to have these people around.

She also mentions the suspected theory that her case was a function of political conflicts in Iran between moderate and hard-line factions. If you are interested in this case at all, I suggest you read the full interview.

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