Here at EPIC, we work hard to report the truth in Iraq. We interview Iraqis, scholars and government officials, we rake through stacks of newspapers and magazines and page through blog after blog to bring you as much information as we can about the realities on the ground. But sometimes we take for granted just how lucky we are to work in a country that considers it our right to do so.
Yesterday, Iran's military intelligence formally brought charges of espionage and endangering national security against three American scholars, including EPIC friends Haleh Esfandiari, director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and Kian Tajbakhsh of the Open Society Institute.
These are not spies. These are not even representatives of the U.S. government. These are nonprofit workers trying to improve the lives of Iranians similar to the ways in which we at EPIC are focused on Iraq. The charges against Haleh and Kian - which amount to capital crimes in Iran - are nothing short of ridiculous.
Please take a moment to read the defenses of Haleh Esfandiari and Kian Tajbakhsh issued by their respective organizations. We hope you will join us in supporting these scholars, and take action through Haleh's website and also through Kian's website to help us save their lives.
So when is a nonprofit scholar a spy?
When she or he operates under a government that arbitrarily says so.