By Nasser Karimi, The Associated Press, in Globe and Mail, January 9, 2012
An Iranian court has convicted an American man of working for the CIA and sentenced him to death, state radio reported Monday, in a case adding to the accelerating tension between the United States and Iran.
Iran charges that as a former U.S. Marine, Amir Mirzaei Hekmati received special training and served at U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan before heading to Iran for his alleged intelligence mission. The radio report did not say when the verdict was issued. Under Iranian law, he has 20 days to appeal. ...
U.S. State Department has demanded Mr. Hekmati’s release.
The court convicted him of working with a hostile country, belonging to the CIA and trying to accuse Iran of involvement in terrorism, Monday’s report said.
In its ruling, a branch of Tehran Revolutionary Court described Mr. Hekmati as a mohareb, an Islamic term that means a fighter against God, and a mofsed, or one who spreads corruption on earth. Both terms appear frequently in Iranian court rulings.
In a closed court hearing in late December, the prosecution asked for the death sentence for Mr. Hekmati.
mohareb: Islamic term meaning fighter against God
mofsed: Islamic term meaning one who spreads corruption on earth
As we continue to learn more terms from the Islamic lexicon, we begin to grasp the depth of the contempt for the west, especially the U.S. in the Iranian political culture.
Even if the Swiss are given access to Mr. Hekmati, is there anyone who thinks that the State Department's request for his release will be granted, at least until the last drop of diplomatic and public relations "benefit" has been squeezed from this story? And, if then, only with another barrage of assaults in diplomatic and political rhetoric against the U.S.
In the midst of the "Hormuz" exercises and the political rhetoric that accompanies that drama, this story has the effect of escalating the tension yet another mark on the scale. And we will have to watch to see if and when other boiling bubbles of tension emerge from this theatre of geopolitics.
From the perspective of the west, one has to wonder if those two terms, "mohareb" and "mofsed" might not equally and easily be applied to Iran itself.
Who is this God for whom Iran is contending and what is this corruption that Iran is spreading on earth?
And is their definition of God the only one to be accepted on the planet?
And is their definition of corruption the only one to be accepted here?
And where are the court rooms that represent the international community in which such arguments might be aired, including the arguments for tolerance of a different kind of God, and a different conception of corruption?
And when will such arguments be conducted formally? And by which proponents of each definition.
While there are obviously political, economic, military and security issues to be confronted, there are also religious and faith issues that underly much of the current tension between the Islamic radicals, both Sunni and Shia, and even within the Islamic communities, that demand decades of discussion, debate, and compromise, without semeing to warrant the attention of the policy makers, the diplomats and the strategists on both sides.
Would it not be tragically ironic for the world to go to the brink of open military conflict, for religious differences, when religion is supposed to be the agent that openly and overtly strives for peace, love and tolerance?
Are we on the cusp of another period analogous to the Middle Ages with the "holy" crusades leading to the slaughter of the innocent in the name of God...whomever and however such God is conceived? It certainly feels as if that question is not off base.