Roxana Saberi’s Case: How Should the U.S. Respond?


Q.: Iran is urging President Obama not to comment on Roxana Saberi’s case.  How should the Obama administration proceed at this point?

“To be honest with you, as of right now, I think the best thing is just to wait.  President Ahmadinejad announced that they’re gonna give her a fair shot, and I think they will, I’m confident.”

“Right now, they’re trying to build bridges, so I think having open dialogue and telling them, ‘Look, we need to talk about this,’ and do something about it.”

“Well, we should try and use all diplomatic channels that they have, but also I think the president is right.  She is a US citizen, so he should express our concerns as Americans.”

“At this point I think they have to be careful, but I do hope that they will take a position and pursue it, not just let it die.”

Q.: Do you think this case has broader implications for US-Iranian relations?

“I think, given the current situation, I’m sure that there are problems, because, any time the government tries to save one particular person, it is, you know, it’s like two nations are at war.  So, yes, absolutely, I think they’re gonna demand something back from the United States.”

“Oh yes, I do, most certainly, especially if she’s not tried fairly.  That’s the biggest thing to me.  And I know that the president of Iran has said that in appeal she should be able to present all of her evidence.  That should have been done the first time around, and she should have been tried in an open court.”

“Things like this happen in Iran all the time.  I don’t think it’s gonna be any bigger than it really is right now.”

Q.: How could a situation like this be prevented in the future for journalists?

“It probably can’t.  Part of the job of a journalist is to go where other people don’t go and to be in dangerous places.”

“If a journalist were to go to another country in order to report exactly what’s going on, it should be definite clearance from the administration of the foreign government.”

“Probably better diplomatic relations with Iran would be Step One.”

“For female journalists, I would say that they should maybe not go over there.  Be more careful.”

This video was brought online by UPI on 20 April 2009.