By the Apadana Chronicle Editorial Board
While the detainment and imprisonment of British-Iranian wife and mother, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe dominated the international community’s attention on the Iranian regime’s habit of taking dual national as hostages, one case silently slithered on unnoticed. In April 2018, A British-Iranian academic, Abbas Edalat, was detained by the regime authorities in Tehran. Edalat is a professor of computer science and mathematics at Imperial College of London and the founder of the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII). CASMII describes itself as an organization that opposes “sanctions, foreign state interference and military intervention in Iran.” Edalat was released and returned to the UK in December, 2018, while Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was arrested 2 years before Edalat, remains in prison in spite of continual international calls for her emancipation. Why?
Upon Edalat’s return, CASMII released a statement claiming that his 8-month detainment was due to “misinformation and misunderstanding by the Iranian security apparatus.” In the same statement, CASMII said, “In the context of the multi-pronged attacks and open threats of the US, Israel and their allies to destabilize the Islamic Republic of Iran – including massive spending on economic warfare, espionage, and psychological operations against Iranians – the tensions are rising again and the potential for such misinterpretations is very real. [We] continue to demand that the US call off its threats, destabilization campaigns and sanctions on Iran and rejoin the internationally recognized UN-endorsed 2015 nuclear deal with Iran (JCPOA).”
In a letter to The Guardian, Edalat asserted that despite its claims, the UK government provided no consular support for him or his family while detained. He also revealed his belief that the UK government’s lack of interference in his case paradoxically contributed to and facilitated his release. In his criticism of the British government, Edalat continued, “There has been open support for the Saudi-led slaughter of the Yemeni people, as well as a western tradition of turning a blind eye to the atrocities against Palestinians. In this environment, interventions by western governments in the judiciary cases in Iran would likely be seen as hypocritical and politically motivated. They may actually raise further suspicions and be ultimately counterproductive for the people involved.”
Abbas Edalat was involved with Baquer Namazi in creating a US-based NGO called Hamyaran. Namazi, who himself is serving prison in Iran, helped Trita Parsi created NIAC. In a 2007 email, Namazi stated, “”Two very good Iranian groups are working hard National Iranian American Council (NIAC) and the London based Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII). The latter had a hand in the Washington ad you shared with me… They are both also working closely together. This is really great and we know the heads of both, close friends. Trita Parsa NIAC and Abbas Edalat CASMI. Their team work and cooperation should be emulated by all of us… Once we get our act together, we should try and link up to NIAC. Parker and I know Dr. Trita Parsi… Our American friends, especially yourself and Parker and Geri can help link us up with US based peace movements. Just imagine if we can work out a grand coalition for peace or the Network of Peace Networks, what a great ethical and humanitarian force, what a formidable pressure group.”
According to the website Iranian American Forum, which exposes the regime’s undercurrent presence and clandestine operations in the US, CASMII and NIAC together embarked on a campaign in 2010 called “Citizen Diplomacy.” This campaign selected Americans and sent them to Iran on so-called “peace missions.” After a series of anti-US and pro-regime brainwashing sessions and travelling, these individuals were sent back to the US to tour the country and preach the gospel they were taught by the mullahs. Many of the current members of the Code Pink leadership were part of that conglomerate of pilgrims to Iran. These efforts were thought to have been orchestrated by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s adviser and confidant, Esfandiyar Rahim-Masha’i.
CASMII has also publicized and had a strong presence in regime-sponsored symposia in Iran. Many of these “conferences” were organized during the Ahmadinejad presidency. Visiting CASMII’s website http://www.campaigniran.org/casmii/, one can clearly see its tendency towards the Iranian regime and its reformist camp. It also provides links to many of the websites such as Code Pink, Mossadegh Project News, and Payvand News.
All this may answer the question as to why Zaghari-Ratcliffe is still imprisoned in Iran, while another British-Iranian was released with no consequences. Nonetheless, the true motive behind his detainment and his partner Baquer Namazi’s continued imprisonment are questions that remain unanswered.