Roxana Saberi, a 31-year-old dual American-Iranian citizen, was arrested in late January and initially accused of working without press credentials. But earlier this month, an Iranian judge leveled a far more serious allegation, charging her with spying for the United States.
The journalist's Iranian-born father, Reza Saberi, told NPR that his daughter was convicted Wednesday, two days after she appeared before an Iranian court in an unusually swift one-day closed-door trial. The court waited until Saturday to announce its decision to the lawyers, he said. Saberi's conviction comes about two months ahead of key presidential elections in June that are pitting hard-liners against reformists who support better relations with the United States. Ahmadinejad is seeking re-election, but the hard-liner's popularity has waned as Iran's economy struggles with high-inflation and unemployment.
Some conservative Iranian lawmakers played down Saberi's conviction, saying the verdict would not affect any ongoing efforts to build trust between the United States and Iran, but I disagree.
So, what's the real reason Roxana Saberi was convicted to eight years in prison on a false spying charge? Well, listen up:
Saberi's father has said his daughter, who was Miss North Dakota in 1997, had been working on a book about the culture and people of Iran, and hoped to finish it and return to the United States this year. Is it possible that Iran was worried about the contents of the book? Or perhaps they are using her research materials as evidence for the case against her? I just might offer this up as a possibility.
Or maybe she really was spying for the U.S. and the book was her cover...naaaaw, she is way too hot to be a spy! Well, it's true, she is really hot!