ENEMY OF THE STATE
In late April, Ramin Jahanbegloo, a progressive philosopher in Tehran, was arrested by the Iranian police; he is believed to be in the Evin Prison, a notorious torture center. No official charges have been filed, but Jahanbegloo has been denounced as an American agent by newspapers close to the regime, and on May 6 Iran’s intelligence minister suggested that he is being held for “having contacts with foreigners.” These accusations would be laughable were they not so grave. For the “foreigners” with whom this “American agent” has been in dialogue include such well-known partisans of the Bush Administration as Jürgen Habermas, Antonio Negri, Richard Rorty and Noam Chomsky. The author of books on Hegel, Isaiah Berlin and Gandhi, Jahanbegloo is a leading member of a circle of Iranian intellectuals who have placed human rights and nonviolence at the center of their concerns. The effort to silence him–and to stifle the free exchange of ideas between Iranian intellectuals and their peers abroad–is a disturbing sign of the hardening of the regime in Tehran, a development that our own hard-liners in Washington have only encouraged with their threats of a war on Iran (for more information, see: raminj.iranianstudies.ca).