Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Madam Secretary, how do you explain this?

L.A. Times--Iranian Professionals' U.S. Visas Revoked:

Amid rising tensions with Iran, U.S. officials have abruptly revoked the visas of dozens of Iranian professionals headed to a university reunion in Northern California this weekend, refusing them entry as they landed at several U.S. airports. The men and women had obtained 15-day visitor visas to attend the fourth global alumni reunion of Iran's Sharif University of Technology, a prestigious institution known as the "MIT of Iran."

Organizers said they knew of about 40 barred from entering the U.S. in recent days. About a dozen of the visitors, some traveling with spouses and children, were detained at San Francisco International Airport on Thursday, and some were held overnight in what one described to a friend in a brief phone call as "jail conditions."

Is this the way to win the hearts and minds of the Iranian people? Is this the way to help pro-democracy movements in Iran or does this provide mullahs with just the right fodder to use in their campaign of lies and distortion against the United States?

Dear Madam Secretary Rice,

President Bush and you have both repeatedly mentioned that you make a clear distinction between the Iranian people and Tehran's regime. Last February you asked congress to grant you $5 million to be used to foster Iranian student exchanges. So, where does this horrible incident come from?

Aren't you letting the Iranian people down?