Clinton Concerned About Health of Journalist Jailed by Iran
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has expressed concern about the health
of Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi, who is imprisoned in Iran. In an
appearance before a Senate panel, Clinton said Tehran is sending mixed signals
about Saberi's fate.
Secretary Clinton renewed U.S. calls for Iran to release Roxana Saberi, who was
sentenced to eight years in prison by Iran for spying, charges the United States
says are baseless.
"We have great concerns about Ms. Saberi's health and well being. She has
arbitrarily, in our view, been held without any kind of transparency and
process," said Clinton. "We have called on the Iranian government, both directly
and through other emissaries, to release her."
Saberi's father says she has been on a hunger strike for more than a week to
protest her incarceration. Tehran denies she has taken such action.
Clinton said the United States is appealing to Iran through public and private
"We hear mixed responses all the time from the [Iranian] government. They are
going to let her out; they are going to let her out in two months," she said.
"They are going to sentence her to eight years; they are going to do an appeal.
I think it shows you how difficult it is to deal with this government in Iran
because they are impervious to the human rights and the civilized standards that
one should apply."
Appearing with Secretary Clinton before the Senate Appropriations Committee was
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who again argued the best way to press Tehran to
abandon its nuclear weapons program is diplomatically, not militarily.
"Even a military attack will only buy us time and send the program deeper and
more covert. How do we get them to decide it is not in their interest to pursue
nuclear weapons? It seems partly it is economic pressures, partly it is
diplomatic isolation, partly it is seeing their neighbors band together to
collaborate on air and missile defense that is aimed only at Iran," said Gates.
Gates said the United States should pursue a partnership with Russia on missile
defense in Europe to further isolate Iran.
He said that it is also important to persuade Iran its security interests are
poorly served by having nuclear weapons, because it will spark a nuclear arms
race in the Middle East.
Secretaries Gates and Clinton agreed the United States should work with its
allies on tougher international sanctions against Iran.
The two officials appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee to discuss
President Barack Obama's request for $83.4 billion for the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan, and aid to Pakistan.
... Payvand News - 05/01/09 ... --