Last September, Hossein-Ali Ghazian, director of Iran's private Ayandeh polling institute, and institute employee Abbas Abdi conducted a survey of Iranian public that indicated a surprising 74.7 percent of the Islamic Republic's citizens favored dialogue with the United States. The government handled this potentially useful information by arresting the two, who have now been sentenced to up to nine years in the clink. The charges are an interesting double-bind: Ghazian and Abdi stand convicted of "publishing false and poisonous information" and of "selling information to foreigners" (namely the Gallup organization). That is, they faked their data, but selling that fake data to foreign research institutes have the "aim of harming our national security." To be guilty of these charges, Abdi, one of the leaders in the 1979 takeover of the US embassy in Teheran, must have gone through a pretty serious revision in his political beliefs over the past two years. (Maybe he's the Iranian David Horowitz.) One bright spot: If you follow this link you'll see that Iranian prison jumpsuits are pretty damn stylish.
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