Darkness at Noon

| Mon Aug. 24, 2009 1:47 PM EDT

At the New Yorker, Laura Secor reports on the show trials currently being mounted in Tehran against opposition leaders who protested the results of the June election:

The indictments prepared by the public prosecutor are almost surreally obtuse. Before the election, one indictment claims, Western governments, foundations, and individuals joined forces with corrupt Iranians in an attempt to overthrow the Islamic Republic and institute a regime compliant with American designs. The nefarious plotters engaged in “exposing cases of violations of human rights,” training reporters in “gathering information,” and “presenting full information on the 2009 electoral candidates.” Apparently, the Iranian citizen is meant to consider it self-evident that the country’s national interest depends on concealing human-rights abuses, censoring the news, and obfuscating the electoral process.

....Meanwhile, Iranians are turning the show trials into a kind of black comedy, by mocking the predictability of their ugliness. Last month, Mohsen Armin, a prominent reformist, issued a preëmptive statement declaring that, no matter what he might say should he be taken to prison, he is not the agent of foreign powers. Perhaps no one has done more to undermine the effect of forced confessions than Ebrahim Nabavi, an exiled Iranian satirist who has released a parody confession video. Dressed in striped pajamas and wearing bandages, he confesses to meeting with a C.I.A. agent, importing green velvet, and having affairs with Carla Bruni and Angelina Jolie (“She had a very ugly and terrible husband”). He apologizes to the Supreme Leader and to the paramilitaries who “kindly” beat him.

Via Patrick Appel.

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