Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Amir Hekmati, and why I'm not going to Iran

So this fellow Amir Hekmati was an American citizen who went to Iran to visit his grandmothers. The Iranian government detained him in August for supposedly being a spy and sentenced him to death a couple days ago. Story from BBC.

This is the first case I've heard that indicates that I might be in danger if I visit Iran. Every argument against visiting Iran up until now has been either a vague worry that their people hate us (false) or a statement about international politics (unrelated to my visit there, unless war breaks out while I'm there). But here is a case where an American visited basically for reasons of tourism, and now might be executed.

But there must be some mitigating factor, right? I mean, they couldn't have just picked up some tourist; there must be some reason they think he's a spy. Well, he was a dual citizen, which Iran doesn't recognize,  so they saw him as an Iranian citizen, which I'd think would make him less suspicious, but what do I know. Also, he worked for a company that made video games including one called "Assault on Iran". So that makes him different from me, right? I haven't worked for a company that Iran thinks is a "spying tool"... wait, yes I have.

Huh! Well, this raises in my mind the possibility that I might be, erm, executed, from 0% to 0.01%. Too high for comfort. Especially because I'm restricted to a group tour, which might be expensive and lame anyway.

Well, dang. Guess this adventure will be... indefinitely postponed. Hey, if you're somewhat less at risk than I am from Iran, and you're thinking about going there, please hit up Pars Travel Agency, as they've been nothing but helpful to me in getting my visa and planning my trip, and I can't even pay them any money.

What to do instead when I arrive in Dubai on Feb 22? I'm thinking either just fly on to Turkey real quick, start on my bike trip early, or hop over to Oman for a week or so first.

1 comment:

  1. ugh that gives me chills to think they might execute the guy. thanks for not going.. i'm sure nothing would happen, but the chance that it could is too much.