The popular press is full of upbeat forecasts about the new Iranian president, and more than a hundred congresspeople have called for greater open-mindedness in American negotiations with Tehran. We should have learned by now that a state’s treatment of its own citizens is a reliable guide to its international behavior. The treatment of men and women like Ayatollah Boroujerdi gives us a grim picture of Iran’s global ambitions. Those who want the West to so largesse to Iran should call for greater largesse from the regime towards its own people. Boroujerdi is a good place to start.
Our negotiators should go to the next round of talks with an appeal for the release of Ayatollah Boroujerdi, an appeal that should be reinforced at the United Nations by Samantha Power (who has often campaigned on behalf of oppressed peoples).
Meanwhile, we should all write to our elected and appointed officials–anywhere in the world–asking them to publicly appeal for Boroujerdi’s release. It’s both the right thing to do, and a useful test of the intentions of the new Iranian government.