Iran Kidnaps Another American Citizen

This week Sen. Biden put his foot in his mouth by predicting to private donors -- he did not know he was being recorded -- that the United States would face "an international crisis, a generated crisis," should Sen. Obama be elected to the White House. "And he's going to need help," Sen. Biden continued, because "it's not going to be apparent initially; it's not going to be apparent that we're right."

These remarkable comments have been covered extensively by many journalists over the past few days. What has not been covered, however, is that we are undergoing an international crisis at this very moment. The Islamic Republic of Iran has, yet again, kidnapped and imprisoned an American citizen for no crime other than her citizenship.

Esha Momeni is a young Iranian-American woman and a graduate student at California State University-Northridge. She is a member of Change for Equality's California chapter, an Iranian women's organization which focuses on women's rights, or lack thereof, in Iran.

Esha, who was born in Los Angeles and grew up in California, traveled back to Iran a few months ago to complete her thesis research project. On October 15, just a little over a week ago, Esha was arrested by Iranian security officials for "unlawfully passing another vehicle while driving," and thrown into the notorious and brutal detention system known as Evin prison -- a series of damp, dark cells with dungeon-like conditions, reserved not merely for legitimate criminals, but for Iranian dissidents and political prisoners. Evin is managed by Iran's infamously deviant Intelligence Ministry.

Anyone who has survived Evin's penitentiary system, like my friend Amir Abbas Fakhravar, can attest that the routine beatings and solitary confinement are hard to endure. The regime gives its political prisoners a treatment known as "white torture," a strenuous process whereby prisoners are dressed in white, in an all-white room, with bright, white lights for days, weeks, and months. The all-white surroundings eventually erode the prisoner's capacity to determine colors and burn a searing whiteness into the prisoner's mind and consciousness for weeks, even after the torture has ended.

For young women like Esha Momeni, Evin's interrogators have been known to be particularly evil, participating in practices that would be best left unsaid right now.