The arrest in Tehran of the three Iranian-Americans and not allowing a fourth Iranian-American from leaving the country is wrong and tragic; it is also an indication of the government’s resolve to limit the civil society and its contact with the outside world. For this government, the new ideas of the 21st century should not enter Iran. Under the guise of accusing these Iranian-Americans of organizing foreign-inspired velvet revolution in the country and making false propaganda against Iran, the government in effect wants to cut all the ties of the country’s civil society and its NGO’s with the outside world. The government, with all its bravado about science, technology and progress, prefers its citizens to be ignorant of the world around them. And the government, with all its talks about human capital, wants to keep Iranian-Americans and European-Iranians out of Iran.
The tragic byproduct of the government’s repressive tactics will be the curtailment of the activities of the NGO’s inside the country. More than anytime in recent memory, the NGO’s are needed to supervise the activities of their governments; Iran is no exception. The leadership of the Islamic Republic, however, prefers to rule over the country without such supervision. Our civil institutions, our democratic movements and our sense of pride for our country will all fall victim to misplaced and repressive policies of the government.
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