My Aunt's Haft Sin. Happy Iranian new year to all my readers.
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Each time I get an international call, beginning with a silent pause and then a, "is that... of... doing?", my paranoia is refreshed. There's been a few of late and it still puzzles me why I'm selected among all the possibilities. I'm flattered, it's exciting yet I can't help but think there'll be troubling repercussions.
"Well, I think they genuinely must have been in Iranian waters as I'm sure it's too much of a politically tense time to make such errors or begin a blackmail campaign", I speculated during the pre-interview. "I mean, this will be politicised and not work to the Iranians' advantage", I regrettably added, certain that it would be the other way around.
"So you think they'll be released soon?", I was asked in surprise as I suggested it would blow over quite quickly. "I think there was a similar incident not too recently where the captives were released swiftly", I added, trying to remember if this was the case or not.
Coincidentally I was awaiting the company of a foreign journalist friend of mine who I was sure would enlighten me of an similar such events. "No, there was the capture of two journalists, French and German, they were fishing off an island, traveling from Qatar", he informed me, "Their maps stated they were not in Iranian water", he went on noting that there had been a dispute. "They were detained for 15-months and released at a politically advantageous moment". He then informed me of the UN Security Council meeting to be held later that day where further sanctions against Iran were likely to be passed – was this another politically advantageous time?
I'm sure many such intrusions of air or water space has been tolerated by the government here, not willing to contribute to the West's media circusI then proceeded in my speculation and countered his thinking that this was an Iranian tactic. "I'm sure many such intrusions of air or water space has been tolerated by the government here, not willing to contribute to the Wests' media circus.", I went on, referring to Seymor Hersh's articles of US drone flights in Iranian air space. "Maybe claims by both sides about being in certain waters are correct in themselves, I mean, the navigation facilities on the British boat may have been tampered", I pondered, curious that this might have been extra-military activity. "Drop a word or two in the right ear and you'll see the Iranians taking the bate... and what great timing", I cynically added.
"Is it Seepa or Sepa?", came a voice on the phone interrupting the radio show as I awaited my turn. "I'm sorry, was that for me?", I responded. "Yes, Seepa or Sepa?", he repeated. They must have made a mistake, I had no idea what they were asking, "the bank", he then added – "Oh, Sepah", I informed him.
Just after we led into the story and they still mispronounced the bank name the presenter introduced me, using me my given name. "So, how do you feel about these new sanctions?", she asked. I sat in my pants, freshly awoken and only too aware that I was live. I'd written notes and was minimally researched but I wasn't at any point told that I would answer on this subject. A few more questions followed and although I filled the time with words and didn't 'um' and 'er' too much my response was poor. I'd mostly attempted to present the hypocrisy of the events, but was rather distracted by not wanted to discuss the matter at all.
"So what is your take on these 15-navy officers arrested?", she finally asked. "Well, it's a rather interesting coincidence, somewhat of an 'October Surprise' I might say". And just as I was warming up to allude to a parallel with the Iran Contra scandal, she interjected, paused a for a brief moment and that was me done.