Breathtaking Hypocrisy

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on October 9, 2011

Via Google News, I read that the theocratic regime in Iran is condemning the United States for supposedly suppressing the Occupy Wall Street protests (no link; the source in question is a propaganda organ of the regime, so if you want, you will have to track the story down yourselves). Even for this regime, this latest episode of casting stones from glass houses is a bit rich:

An Iranian graduate student at the University of Texas went on trial Tuesday in Tehran on charges of having relations with a hostile country and receiving illegitimate funds, his lawyer said.

Omid Kokabee pleaded not guilty to both charges during the trial’s opening session, said the attorney, Saeed Khalili. He could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Iranian authorities arrested the 29-year-old Kokabee in February at Tehran’s international airport as he was about to get on a flight to return to the U.S. after a short vacation in Iran.

Kokabee was studying optics in the physics department of the University of Texas and had previously specialized in lasers, one of his academic advisers said. None of his studies were linked to nuclear applications, said John Keto, chair of the graduate studies program at the University of Texas at Austin’s department of physics.

Iran’s nuclear program is a major source of tension between Tehran and Washington. The U.S. and other countries accuse Iran of making all the necessary preparations to build a nuclear arsenal. Iran denies that and says its nuclear work has only peaceful aims, like power generation.

The student’s lawyer told The Associated Press that he was not been permitted to speak with Kokabee at Tuesday’s trial session.

“He denied all charges. The entire session was allocated to (procedural) hearings and the court is to hold another session,” Khalili said. No date was set for the next hearing.

There were few details on the precise accusations against the student.

Related:

The families of BBC staff members in Iran say they have been subject to arrest, harassment and intimidation by Iranian officials since the broadcast of a documentary about Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on the British broadcaster’s Persian-language service last month.

The harassment, reported on the BBC’s Web site on Wednesday, follows the arrests of six filmmakers accused by Iranian authorities of having worked covertly for the broadcaster.

As The Times reported, the BBC said the six — five men and a woman — were independent contractors, not employees, and denied that they had been involved with the Khamenei documentary, which was broadcast on BBC Persian in mid-September. The Persian service is officially banned in Iran, but said to be highly popular. The hourlong documentary is available on the BBC Persian’s YouTube channel.

The names of the filmmakers — Hadi Afarideh, Shahnam Bazdar, Naser Saffarian, Mohsen Shahrnazdar, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb and Katayoun Shahabi — appeared in a statement by Amnesty International on Monday condemning their arrests. The statement said they were being held in Tehran’s Evin Prison and that three of the filmmakers had been allowed to make brief phone calls confirming their arrests.

One of those named, Mr. Mirtahmasb, is co-director of the film called “This Is Not a Film,” which had its debut at the Cannes Film Festival over the summer and will be shown in New York next week. Tracking a day in the life of his co-director, Jafar Panahi, and shot mostly on an iPhone, it is about “filmmakers who can’t make films,” Mr. Mirtahmasb told The Times in an interview in May.

It ought to go without saying that so long as the regime engages in this brand of barbarism, it will be in no position whatsoever to lecture other countries about repression and human rights.

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