The One Million Signatures Campaign officially launched on August 27, 2006, aims to collect one million signatures in support of a petition addressed to the Iranian Parliament asking for the revision and reform of current laws which discriminate against women.
The statement follows here:
"...I am deeply concerned that one of our graduate students, Esha Momeni, has been arrested and detained by Iranian authorities while conducting research as part of her Master’s degree requirements in Mass Communications at California State University, Northridge. My understanding is that her thesis project focused on women’s issues in Iran.
"Ms. Momeni is a U.S. citizen. She is a student invested in learning and understanding current conditions in the country of her family’s origin.
"Anyone who values knowledge and the role of academic inquiry in shedding light on the human condition should be concerned.
"We are in support of the efforts of the U.S. government in their efforts to secure Ms. Momeni’s immediate release and are in the process of contacting the following individuals and organizations to obtain their assistance: Senator Diane Feinstein, Senator Barbara Boxer, Representative Brad Sherman, the Department of State, and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Mohammad Khazaee..."
This Web Site provides links for action in support of getting Esha Momeni released: X
Reports indicate she has been taken to a very notorious prison, known to be a place where dissidents have been tortured.
This does not make sense, however.
Momeni did not try to hide what she was doing. In fact, her work has to do with getting a petition signed for and presenting it to the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Had they not wanted her to be in Iran why would they let her in to the country in the first place?
And if they didn't like what she was doing, why not just very publicly admonish her and expel her?
Surely the Holiest of Holy's full might of Iran would not single out a powerless, idealistic American student? For what purpose?
What political advantage might they reap by doing so?
The obvious scenario would be to "detain" Esha Momeni, treat her extravagantly well, even as an honored guest, accompany her lavishly with state reporters and journalists, as well as provide the constant companionship of an "ambassador" and answer her questions with Islamic doctrine and copious quotes from the Qu'ran.
She is there after all, doing research for her thesis.
What an opportunity for Iran to offer a delegation of women to send back with her, replete with public relations amenities...
Can you imagine the press they would glean with this kind of scenario?
What a feather in Mr. Ahmadinejad's cap this would be!
What kind of diplomat passes up this kind of an opportunity?
Surely it was the mistake of a local, lowly operative, unfamiliar with the tools of diplomacy.
At the risk of sounding ridiculous, perhaps it is but a case of "...dota pasho karde to yek kafsh..."
And the honorable President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of E'telaf-e Abadgaran-e Iran-e Eslami, is probably at this very moment intervening to effect the aforementioned scenario.
Unless there is much more than meets the eye, to squash beneath the powerful boot of the giant Iranian force in the Middle East, an American student working on her master's thesis, makes no sense at all.