I have not read his books. My brother (who lives in Iran, and works in Iran, and whose civil and intellectual liberties are subject to the same kind of limits as others) has; and he felt they read like a "PhD dissertation" and tenure-track-aimed publications. In other words, he considers them "still" raw, and he finds Michele Foucaults' Disciplin and Punish--which is also translated and available in Iran--a far more "dangerous" book than Mr Jahanbegloo's The Forth Wave (I'm not sure what it is in English/French, but here's an English work of his Iran, Between Traditiona and Modernity ) for which he was considered a threat to the IRI, and arrested for a few months!! (Nevertheless, Jahanbegloo is a graduate of Sorbonne and a prolific writer ans thus, in the coming years, his name will be quoted in many a political philosophy text books. Good for him, and my hat off to him, and I promise to read his books as soon as I have free time during which I do not blog.)
Anyways, the point is not to discuss philosophy here.
The point is to contextualize the recent arrest of Iranian-American scholars (Haleh Esfandiari, Ali Shakeri from the center for peacebuilding, and Kian Tajbakhsh), on the eve of the long awaited Iran-US talks. Jahanbegloo came to my mind because he was arrested in this very season: mid spring with similar charges of velvet or silk revolution!
So, unless the IRI suffers spring fever, why would it be arresting American-Iranian scholars with no track record of aggression toward IRI, or no neo-conservative related controversy tied to their name?
Omid Me'marian answers, and because I agree with his points, I translate excerpts [I left out a couple of paragraphs of rhetorics]:
What is the message conveyed by the arrest of the Iranian-American scholars in the past few weeks? Who has issued this message; why and towards what objective? Within the three weeks between the arrest of Dr Haleh Esfandiari, and Drs Kian Tajbakhsh and Ali shakeri, what important event has taken place?
All three are well reputed among their colleagues.
Dr Esfandiari has had one of the most realist perspectives on the changes in Iran. Her published articles and speakers she has invited to the Woodrow Wilson Institute indicate her diversion from the hawkish Washington interests: most importantly that Iranians are sensitive to their future and try hard in making their own future, and no one else's will shall surpass theirs.
Dr Tajbakhsh, university professor, researcher and consultant of many Iranian and international organizations, is known to be one of the best specialists in the field of urban sociology. Dr Shakeri, is one of those whose anti-war, in an open democracy, is heard by many.
These individuals, although live abroad, but are considered the national pride of the Iranian diaspora. And now, they are confined under various charges laid on them by the security officials. The dug up evidences on these individuals do not reflect the journalistic genius of the "toopkhaneh" paper [ I think this refers to Keyhan?], rather the availability of the documents to the public. However, the evidence are read with paranoia and are twisted with disinformation. And this shows how empty handed the accusers, and how innocent the accused are. Because, considering the web sites of these individuals, and their publications reveal that the false accusations against them resemble inventions.
[...] such usual spreading of lies aims to both frighten the Iranian diaspora whose heart beats for Iran, and also to send a warning message to those who might aim to use such individuals towards their own [political] goals, unaware that with such "accidental" or 'false" arrests, they are shooting themselves in the foot. [here the author is pointing the finger to the hardliner papers that are putting wood in the fire.]
This is not the first time that the [right-wing] security-organizational-journalistic ring undertakes such projects. Similar instances have occurred several times in the past years and it is possible to predict the outcome. I expect that as I am writing these notes, some of the wisemen of the conservative camp are scolding their hardliners for such impulsive actions; while on the other hand the hardliners are promising the prisoners that they will be free to go if they make a little confession.
Therefore, the stories of arrets, charges of espionage, leaking the interrogations in the headlines of the hardline papers, censorship of the news, refusal to allow access to legal counsel, perpetual lying, fear mongering in sectors of the society and throwing in names that are the objective of the future "intelligence-project", forced confessions and then release without court appearance [remember the British soldiers?] but with a hefty bail, is an old and repeated story, without any intelligence or humanitarian outcome.
Any Iranian citizen likes the intelligence officers to be among the elite. Both qualified and smart, and capable of providing safety and security with minimal expense and maximum cooperation of the citizens, which will lead to trust and satisfaction. But in the most optimistic assessments, the intelligence officers have raised so many false flags that one wonders why they are occupying such posts [makes me think of the CIA and the FBI and Saddam's WMD!]. The picture that these people project of Iran resembles the anti-human right picture that the American war-mongers portray of Iran.
Remembering what happened to Hossein Moosavian [the Iranian nuclear negotiator charges with espionage!!!!] and the heavy accusations made by the hardliners of the government, and his release after one week, practically shows that such "profile making" doesn't go beyond intelligence errors that are mixed with the political agenda of certain factions within the government. These agendas are not in line with the interests of the Iranian people, Iran, and not even the IR regime. In a state of crisis, that the regime needs to dedicate all its resources to repel the increasing threats against Iran, these arrests resemble suicide out of fear of death."
In addition to being a fear-mongering device, this is a smoke-screen because Monday is a sensitive day. Some in Iran, like many in Washington, do not want Iran to sit at a table with the US! Thus, it is important for the government to appear tough on America's possible intervention in internal affairs of Iran. Of course, the Americans are not making it easy for these people, by publicly calling for "destabilizing action inside Iran".
Nonetheless, everyone will be freed unharmed!