The famous physicist Albert Einstein is credited with coining the phrase: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
While Einstein was referring to the area of physics, quantum theories and the nature of the universe, his quote is very much appropriate for something a bit more rooted in the here and now: the Iranian regime.
It seems the mullahs in Tehran have an addiction to arresting people. They arrest dual nationals visiting from other countries. They arrest journalists. They arrests dissidents. They arrest Christians and other religious minorities. They arrest bloggers. They arrest women, children, students, artists, professors and just about anyone else that annoys them.
They even arrest members of their own government that helped bring them a nuclear deal that lined their pockets with billions of dollars in sanctions relief.
Yes, sometimes it doesn’t even protect you from being arrested if you are even part of the regime.
The regime said on Sunday that a person close to the government team that negotiated the nuclear agreement with foreign powers had been arrested on accusations of espionage and released on bail.
The disclosure, reported in the state media, appeared to be the latest sign of the Iranian regime’s leadership’s frustration over the agreement, which has failed so far to yield the significant economic benefits for the country that the accord’s advocates had promised. Regime officials and members of the Iran lobby have blamed the United States for that problem.
According to the New York Times, there had been unconfirmed reports last week that regime authorities arrested Abdolrasoul Dorri Esfahani, who has dual Iranian and Canadian citizenship, on espionage suspicions. Esfahani, an adviser to Iran’s central bank, was involved in helping the Iranian nuclear negotiators bargain for sanctions relief in exchange for Iran’s pledges of verifiably peaceful nuclear work.
The official Islamic Republic News Agency said a spokesman for Iran’s judiciary, Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei, speaking at a weekly news conference on Sunday in Tehran, had “confirmed the arrest of an individual from the negotiating team.”
There was no immediate comment on Esfahani’s fate from the government of Canada, which already has wrestling with the arrest of another dual citizen in Iran; Homa Hoodfar, a Canadian-Iranian anthropologist who studies the role of women in Muslim societies. There has been no announcement from the regime as to why she was arrested.
This new arrest occurrs against the backdrop of other hostile actions from regime, including:
- Regime officials announced the execution of a nuclear scientist who had returned home from the United States, where, he claimed, he had been kidnapped by the U.S. government. The Iranians said the scientist had betrayed secrets to the enemy;
- Last week, a series of run-ins with high-speed boats from the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy harassed American warships patrolling international waters in the Persian Gulf region at least four times, U.S. Navy officials called the actions dangerous, unsafe, unprofessional and illegal.
The rash of arrests, especially of dual national citizens who seem to be the latest targets of the regime, has caused consternation among supporters of the regime within the Iran lobby and the Obama administration’s vaunted “echo chamber” all of whom have remained studiously silent on the matter.
The uptick in arrests is worrisome given the contention that the $400 million cash payment made by the U.S. was done explicitly in exchange for U.S. hostages and has convinced the mullahs in Tehran that this is a more profitable and quicker tactic for recouping gains than tiresome diplomatic forays, which many in the regime leadership, including top mullah Ali Khamenei, have openly called a waste of time.
Khamenei himself seems perfectly happy in his usual vein of saber rattling and lengthy denunciations of the West as the regime’s Tasnim News Service issued a press release this weekend of his remarks in which again threatened the world.
The fact that Khamenei and the rest of the clerical leadership of the Iranian regime seems intent on committing the Islamic state to a course regional proxy wars, conflict, hostility and unremitting bombastic hatred of the liberal and pluralistic West, the obvious question now is just what the heck should the next Congress and president do about it next year?
That question seems to preoccupy the Iran lobby to no end as its official lobbying arms, such as NIAC Action, have fully engaged in U.S. Congressional races, especially Senate ones to ensure that candidates supportive of the nuclear deal and of maintaining friendly relations with the Iranian regime are elected.
What is interesting is that NIAC Action has clearly decided on a partisan course in only supporting Democratic candidates in key races who have come out in favor of the Iran nuclear deal, even though many of those same candidates, when questioned about Iran’s human rights situation and support for terrorism, quickly disavow any support for the mullahs.
The real litmus test is not going to be in who controls the Senate, but in ensuring that no matter what party controls the Congress and White House, they continue to hold the regime accountable for these transgressions or face more multi-million dollar ransom payments for our citizens.
By Michael Tomlinson