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Imprisoned Physicist Honored For Refusing To Work On Iran's Nuclear Program

Unknown Lamer posted about 7 months ago | from the no-silex-for-you dept.

Politics 138

New submitter I3MOUNTAINS writes "Omid Kokabee, a University of Texas graduate student who has been imprisoned in Iran for more than two years, received the American Physical Society's Andrei Sakharov human rights prize for refusing to collaborate on the country's nuclear program. In May, an Iranian court sentenced him to ten years in prison for 'communicating with a hostile government' and receiving 'illegal earnings.' The so-called 'illegal earnings' were the student loans he received while in Texas."

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138 comments

First! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44931773)

nuke em!!!!!!

Re: First! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44931775)

Damn you. Second!

Re:First! (4, Funny)

durrr (1316311) | about 6 months ago | (#44932253)

Well, something that will never get nuked are that guys student loans.

Re:First! (2)

rvw (755107) | about 6 months ago | (#44932841)

Well, something that will never get nuked are that guys student loans.

Not until the lawyers get their hands on this. I think they are the only ones able to get him out of prison, out of Iran, to the US, just so he can pay off his loan.

Guts (4, Insightful)

spamchang (302052) | about 7 months ago | (#44931781)

This guy has 'em. There are other ways to sacrifice for worthy principles than warfare.

Hook 'em.

Re:Guts (-1, Flamebait)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | about 7 months ago | (#44931789)

If he had guts, he'd take the job, and deal with the limpet mine that the Mossad plants on his car...

Re:Guts (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44932017)

Yep, but he also has a spine.

Re:Guts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44932391)

Yep, but he also has a spine.

And, more likely than not, a pair of eyeballs as well.

Re:Guts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44932315)

Funny how everyone is scared if another sovereign country gets nuclear weapons (the government in my country, the US government, loves to be the world police) yet the US government killed hundreds of thousands of innocents with similar weapons in the past. I'd be more scared that the US has these weapons right now than of some backwater country.

Re:Guts (1)

Moryath (553296) | about 6 months ago | (#44933547)

Maybe it's because the collection of theocratic asswipes that run the Iranian government have promised to wipe certain countries off the face of the planet and been caught lying many times about their supposedly "peaceful *coughbullshitcough*" nuclear program.

The world didn't understand the end result of nuclear weapons before the only two ever used in war were used. Since then we've learned so much more and we've come to the conclusion that they are too dangerous, destructive, and their impact far too long-lasting to ever be used again.

Letting Ayatollah Assaholla, or any of the clerics, or some crazed nutjob like Ahmadamnnutjob have access to nuclear weaponry would be like walking Hannibal Lecter into a butcher's supply store and saying "here, help yourself." And for all that their new president is sounding better, he's a mullah's cough away from being on his ass and replaced by someone far worse. He's playing the snake game talking out of two sides of his mouth right now, trying to blame "Israel" for every bit of shitty sectarian muslim-on-muslim warfare and every act of stupidity that has been made by the tin-pot dictator crowd that runs the various Arab states in general.

I'd be more scared that the US has these weapons right now than of some backwater country.

Tea Party kooks full of Cold War insanity and outdated worldviews aside, the US is a rational actor. The US has no purpose or reason to use nuclear weapons.

To contrast, Iran is not - and has not been since the 1970s - a rational actor. That is the key difference. Iran's government rules by fear and theocracy, signing themselves up when convenient with certain other nations and generally being the little shitty chihuahua dog that barks a lot and occasionally actually bites someone because it thinks it can get away with it and to prove its miniscule "power." Iran is highly likely to not just "have" nuclear weapons but actively use them out of fright, or spite, or just because they think it will make them look "powerful" on the world stage.

Re:Guts (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 6 months ago | (#44934275)

Because the countries that have nukes have demonstrated they are responsible with them - Even Pakistan and India.

I have no such faith in the misogynistic pedophile theocrats leaders of other nations of the world who are clamoring desperately for them.

A third alternative... (1)

ivi (126837) | about 6 months ago | (#44932747)

Energy from Thorium gives us one more way to resolve this issue, ie, beyond 1. Withholding nuclear technology and 2. Sharing it with Iran, namely:

Share the safe, non-Plutonium-generating Energy from Thorium (LFTR technology with Iran &;anyone who' ready to use it.

Re:Guts (2)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 6 months ago | (#44933371)

Either guts, or he didn't like the idea of some Mossad agent slapping a magnetic bomb to hist car and blowing him to shit. One of those two.

Re:Guts (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 6 months ago | (#44933697)

I'm not sure it ends up being beneficial in the grand scheme of things, though. Iran obviously isn't a model nation by any standards, but looking at the current scenario of international politics and the powers of the UN*, you may suspect that nuclear deterrence is still alive and kicking. I don't know if we'd have so many wars or if we'd invest so much in warfare if nuclear missiles were ubiquitous, as paradoxical as this statement may seen.

*See the Iraq war. Also, remember the US are setting their sights on both Syria and Iran, now. If I were one of those countries, yes, I'd be worried and looking for anything that might make them think twice.

Re:Guts (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about 6 months ago | (#44934453)

Yeah he does but before giving him too much credit I'd point out that he lacks the common sense to stay out of Iran. Especially given his background of studying physics in the US!

So, how about... (5, Interesting)

Radagast (2416) | about 7 months ago | (#44931795)

Any prizes for Mordechai Vanunu [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:So, how about... (2)

Simploid (1649955) | about 7 months ago | (#44931863)

Wiki says he spent 18 years in prison, more than 11 of them in solitary and after release his movement is still restricted! Is this even real? Never heard of this!!

Re:So, how about... (2)

Simploid (1649955) | about 7 months ago | (#44931879)

Reading further in Wikipedia, He received and was nominated for a lot of awards in Europe including noble peace prize.

Re:So, how about... (0, Troll)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 7 months ago | (#44931903)

I give him the Balls of Steel trophy. I'm surprised Israel hasn't just staged an accident by now.

Re:So, how about... (0)

durrr (1316311) | about 6 months ago | (#44932649)

"former Mossad director Shabtai Shavit told Reuters that the option of extrajudicial execution was considered in 1986, but rejected because "Jews don't do that to other Jews."[34]"

In short, had he not been a jew, he'd been found dead from autoerotic asphyxation in female underwear instead of kidnapped.

Re:So, how about... (1)

m.alessandrini (1587467) | about 6 months ago | (#44932347)

Eh eh, they're all heroes unless they cross your interests, or interests you have in common with someone else. NSA docet.

Re:So, how about... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44932593)

One refused to build nuclear weapons, one built nuclear weapons and then betrayed an oath. How are they similar?

Questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44931797)

1) Why was an Iranian national studying in the US to begin with?

2) The article says he was studying lasers and optics. This makes him an unlikely choice for a nuclear anything program.

Re:Questions (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44931869)

For plutonium nukes, the sphere of explosive around the plutonium must be perfectly shaped. What else must be perfectly shaped: mirrors and lenses for telescopes.

Re:Questions (5, Funny)

drkim (1559875) | about 7 months ago | (#44931881)

The article says he was studying lasers and optics. This makes him an unlikely choice for a nuclear anything program.

Congratulation!

You are the one-millionth poster on /. to post without reading the article! Great job! Keep up the good work!
[Balloons drop] [Confetti mortars fire]

"Iran has been pursuing a kind of uranium enrichment called SILEX which uses carbon dioxide lasers, the same kind of lasers that Kokabee was using in his graduate studies."

Re:Questions (1, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | about 7 months ago | (#44932007)

"Iran has been pursuing a kind of uranium enrichment called SILEX which uses carbon dioxide lasers, the same kind of lasers that Kokabee was using in his graduate studies."

This is like saying he was studying computer aided design, and got arrested for refusing to join their computer hacking program, that happened to use similar computer systems.

Just b/c he had used the same kind of lasers, would not of meant he could do anything with uranium enrichment

Re:Questions (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44932405)

This is like saying he was studying computer aided design, and got arrested for refusing to join their computer hacking program, that happened to use similar computer systems.

Just b/c he had used the same kind of lasers, would not of meant he could do anything with uranium enrichment

Yes, because studying the usage and calibration of the exact necessary type of lasers will in no way qualify you to perform a job where you are required to select and calibrate those lasers.

Just because he doesn't know anything about uranium doesn't mean he can't take a sheet of paper from a nuclear physicist saying "set energy output to X for period Y or until target reaches maximum temperature Z."

Re:Questions (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44932939)

Welcome to the physics career path, where you may make several large jumps to other similar fields, sometimes with little to no experience on the exact devices you will be working on. I jumped from not working with lasers at all to working with lasers right out of grad school, so going from working on the same type of laser to the same type of laser is a rather small jump.

Re:Questions (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 6 months ago | (#44932085)

Congratulation!

You are the one-millionth poster on /. to post without reading the article!

You must be nude here.

It's more like the one-millionth-billionth poster.

I sometimes get the feeling that most folks don't even bother to read the post that they are replying to, let alone the article.

Re:Questions (1)

fnj (64210) | about 6 months ago | (#44932697)

It's more like the one-millionth-billionth poster

Turn in your Austin Powers ring. It's more like the "meeeeeeellionth poster".

Re:Questions (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 6 months ago | (#44932127)

SILEX which uses carbon dioxide lasers

I knew it - carbon dioxide causes nuclear warming :)
On a more serious note this sort of state driven military research in other places via graduate students happens a bit. I taught a bit of stuff to a masters student from Indonesia that wanted to work on composite materials with a very low radar signature to be used in aircraft. The first I could help him with, the second was a bit outside of what I knew so there was no moral dilemma.

Re:Questions (4, Informative)

Swave An deBwoner (907414) | about 7 months ago | (#44931921)

Answer to 2) is in TFM#1:

Iran has been pursuing a kind of uranium enrichment called SILEX which uses carbon dioxide lasers, the same kind of lasers that Kokabee was using in his graduate studies.

Answer to 1) took a few more Google cycles:

Did you know that thousands of Iranian students study in the United States each year? In fact, for the past several years, the number of Iranian students studying in American colleges and universities has steadily grown such that Iran is now 22nd among the top 25 places of origin for international students.

And, in recent months, President Obama and Secretary Clinton have announced big steps forward in promoting exchange and opportunity with the Iranian people. As Secretary Clinton announced in May 2011, (http://www.youtube.com/), new visa regulations now allow Iranian students to receive two-year, multiple entry visas. This gives young Iranians the opportunity to return home for family events, to participate in internships, to travel outside the United Statesâ"and they wonâ(TM)t need to get a new visa every time.

You can find the quote here:
http://iran.usembassy.gov/education.html [usembassy.gov]

Re:Questions (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 7 months ago | (#44931995)

And it's a completely fucked-up policy, because the hoops that a US company needs to jump through to hire an Iranian national are insane. So you end up educating a load of people, then telling them that they're second-class people and sending them back home. Guess how favourably disposed they are to the USA after that...

Re:Questions (3, Insightful)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 6 months ago | (#44932097)

But you took a lot of money off them in the process.

That's all that matters, right?

Re:Questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44932171)

There is no shortage of money-ed applicants for schools. They could double tuition if they removed admission standards and still have impacted classes. The question is why give a seat to someone based on the premise of "hearts & minds" that could have gone to a viable contributor to our domestic economy only to lose that "heart & mind" by making them feel rejected upon graduation? It is a lost opportunity, counterproductive, and a waste of resources.

Re:Questions (1)

jittles (1613415) | about 6 months ago | (#44933351)

And it's a completely fucked-up policy, because the hoops that a US company needs to jump through to hire an Iranian national are insane. So you end up educating a load of people, then telling them that they're second-class people and sending them back home. Guess how favourably disposed they are to the USA after that...

Do you have some sort of reference for that? I used to go to college recruiting fairs to pick up engineering talent for my projects. At that time I was working for a government contractor with both classified and ITAR related materials floating around. We had an especially qualified Iranian national come by. Unfortunately we did not have any work that was not, at the very least, covered by ITAR. I pretended that it was not the case and asked HR and our DSS liaison as to whether we could hire this individual. Both indicated that they were perfectly eligible for hire, and that we just had to place them on a contract that was not covered by ITAR or other security clearances.

Re:Questions (4, Funny)

mestar (121800) | about 6 months ago | (#44932337)

"Iran is now 22nd among the top 25 places of origin for international students."

Yes, yes, but how high is it among the top 100?

Re:Questions (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44932503)

Well, obviously if they're 22nd among 25 they would be 88th among 100th.
Really, it's depressing how down is math level in /. these days.

Re:Questions (-1)

fnj (64210) | about 6 months ago | (#44932715)

Well, obviously if they're 22nd among 25 they would be 88th among 100th.

Back to third grade for you my anonymous one, to restudy beginning math and beginning logic. Either that, or turn in your sarcasm ring.

Unintentional humor (1)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about 6 months ago | (#44934267)

You can find the quote here: http://iran.usembassy.gov/education.html [usembassy.gov]

I find that link name a little humorous in that the US has not had an embassy in Iran since some, ahem, "unpleasantness" in the late 1970s. But we do need to keep accepting and educating them because it benefits big business (US universities) and anything that benefits big business can't be bad? Right?

Re:Questions (2)

m.alessandrini (1587467) | about 7 months ago | (#44932005)

1) Why was an Iranian national studying in the US to begin with?

Entering US is quite regulated, so I think US government knows and accepts that students or workers from Iran go there, and think it's an advantage for both. The world is no more the one from the cold war era, and many people from Bin Laden's country (for example) always were and are in USA (even his relatives if I remember correctly).

Re:Questions (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44932159)

Bin Laden's country is Saudi Arabia, which is a major US ally.

Re:Questions (1, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 7 months ago | (#44932063)

Because the Iranian government has done to the post-secondary education system in Iran what the Republicans have attempted to do(and in some cases succeeded) in doing to secondary education in the US, i.e. hand it over to the religious fundamentalists who only care about promoting whatever imaginary being they happen to believe in. The University of Tehran appointed as president a guy who had no post secondary education but lots and lots of Islamic bona fides. If they want an education that is more rigorous than "Muhammed is great!" they have to look elsewhere.

Re:Questions (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 7 months ago | (#44932077)

which is a shame because before the fundies started changing everything Iranian schools were pretty good. Ironic that one of the biggest impediments to the religious fundamentalists getting a homegrown atomic weapon is their own religious fundamentalism.

Though this is hardly the first time ideological purity has ruined a once great educational system. Supposedly a lot of German scientists complained that during the war they found it almost impossible to do research because all their graduate assistants could do is recite Nazi propaganda and not much else.

Re:Questions (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44932109)

What a bunch of BS. there.

I am Iranian scholar staying outside Iran. Your post does not make any sense whatsoever.

Re:Questions (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 6 months ago | (#44932421)

Nice troll for ayatollah, but the fact remains they appointed as president of the University of Tehran a man who has no academic qualifications [bbc.co.uk] but he does believe really hard in an imaginary man in the sky and a child rapist who claims to have spoken for the imaginary man in the sky.

Re:Questions (1)

fnj (64210) | about 6 months ago | (#44932785)

It makes absolutely no difference whatsoever whether he believes in anything you regard as imaginary or not. What matters is whether he is trying to impress on the curriculum any improper or undue slant. At worst he is an accomplice (not necessarily willing) in a pervasive system of brainwashing and subversion. It is more honest and effective to concentrate on the system.

Please understand, it's not that I necessarily object in principle to bigotry against belief systems that are arguably evil or at least retard civilization. What I object to is unclear process and wrong targeting. The target ought to be a government incorporating exclusive support of a specific religion and targeting those who do not support that religion in violation of elementary human rights.

Re:Questions (1)

tinkerton (199273) | about 6 months ago | (#44933035)

Antifoidus is probably referring to the 4 year presidency of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbas-Ali_Amid_Zanjani [wikipedia.org] . That was apparently the only cleric who ever was president there and it really didn't work out. But apart from that I fully agree with AC about 'a bunch of BS'. I checked UNESCO and Iran is doing pretty well in education, while in the good old days of 1976 they weren't. In 76 25% of the women could read.

Iranian nuclear program (3, Insightful)

Vintermann (400722) | about 7 months ago | (#44931799)

Wouldn't it be nice if the west had the entire moral high ground on this? Considering iranian physicists and physics professors are murdered by foreign agents over a low shoe, you can't blame Iran for being paranoid.

Re:Iranian nuclear program (1)

CauseBy (3029989) | about 7 months ago | (#44931841)

Is low shoe a typo or a reference to something I don't recognize? I can't figure it out.

Re:Iranian nuclear program (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44932149)

It could be a reference to how a woman in Saudi Arabia could be punished for showing some ankle, so, a metaphor for a pathetic reason.

Re:Iranian nuclear program (2)

Buggz (1187173) | about 6 months ago | (#44932151)

It is a word-for-word translation of a norwegian saying. Doing something "over a low shoe" basically means doing said something very much/very often/excessively/uncritically.

Re:Iranian nuclear program (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 6 months ago | (#44932953)

For those wondering where it's from, here's an explanation from Per Egil Hegge [wikipedia.org] , via this thread (in Norwegian) [www.nrk.no] :

In his book Katta i sekken, Kjell Ivar Vannebo writes that the origin is German, and comes from the fact that Germans often drank from a cup which was shaped like a shoe. Drinking over a shoe meant drinking too much. Later it became "low shoe", and the phrase was also expanded to include performing activity other than drinking, at a level far above normal or acceptable.

The title of that book, by the way, translates to "cat in a sack", but is not related to the English idiom "let the cat out of the bag"... instead it's the Norwegian version of the English idiom pig in a poke [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Iranian nuclear program (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44932213)

It is something of a stretch to describe Israel as "the west"

Re:Iranian nuclear program (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 6 months ago | (#44932855)

Not really... "the west" generally refers to members of the cold war 1st world, of which Israel was very definitely a member. By that criteria, Australia also gets lumped in with "the west", even though it's a south Pacific nation and has closer ties to the southeast Asian economy than it does the European.

"the west" also gets used to refer to wealthy industrialized nations because, until quite recently, almost all of the wealthy industrialized nations were in Europe or North America... again by that criteria, though, Israel is a wealthy industrialized nation. Granted, a *lot* of its wealth has come from "aid" money from the United States, Israel still has a lot more money than much of the world. In this sense, "the west" refers to the 1% nations. (and if you have access to indoor plumbing and can eat meat on a regular basis, you're part of the 1% in the world).

Besides, do you think Israel is the only nation that's ever carried out extrajudicial executions of people it deems a threat? Every nation in the G20 has done it at some point in history. It's naive to think the Americans and the Brits haven't been messing with Iran's nuclear ambitions, and the French have probably fucked with them too. Hell, even the Canadians have conducted espionage in Iran in the past and it's not a stretch to think they're doing it now.

Meanwhile Oppenheimer et al (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44931803)

Unfortunately haven't been nominated for some reason...

Iran's Nuclear Program is Peaceful (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44931853)

Even it wasn't take a look at a map of US military installations. There is a very rational argument to be made for them having the capability at least.

Re:Iran's Nuclear Program is Peaceful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44932193)

No, there is not.

Background story (2)

tinkerton (199273) | about 7 months ago | (#44931927)

The background story for this is: "Iran is currently trying really hard to make a deal with the West, if not with the US then at least with Europe. We've got to stop that. Throw everything at them that you got."

Watch this guy become some hero/martyr in the Stat (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44931931)

All Iran wants is to be untouchable like Israel, North Korea, Russia, China, India and Pakistan. And I completely understand after what the USA did to them in the 80s.

The so-called 'illegal earnings' (3, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about 7 months ago | (#44931951)

The so-called 'illegal earnings' were the student loans he received while in Texas.

I hate to think how much compound interest he will have accumulated while in jail.

Re: The so-called 'illegal earnings' (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 7 months ago | (#44932067)

I hate to think how much compound interest he will have accumulated while in jail.

If only he hadn't left the lights on at home...

Re: The so-called 'illegal earnings' (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44932081)

Yep, Riba (interest, bordering usury in case of student loans) is indeed forbidden by sharia law, so he got what he deserved.

Re: The so-called 'illegal earnings' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44932185)

I see no problem with this... Muslims that I know pay off credit card debt immediately, to prevent any interest from being accrued. If only everyone in the US would do as much, that would fix a lot of debt problems....

I agree that it's a bit much to jail someone over it, but in principle I don't understand why people disparage the concepts so much.

Re: The so-called 'illegal earnings' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44932275)

Yes, it'd be much better if instead of charging interests in exchange for a loan of $30000, the banks were actually
paying the $30000 tuition directly to the university, then selling it back to you for $45000 then lend you $45000
at no interest. Much more moral than lending you $30000 and charging you whatever interest rate would end up costing you $15000 in the end.

Re: The so-called 'illegal earnings' (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 6 months ago | (#44934737)

How is it more "moral" to pay 45k without interest for borrowing 30k than it is to borrow 30k and pay back what works out to 45k over time?

And of course you realize that if you usually still have the option of paying it back faster anyways, so that you will actually pay even less interest... although some financial institutions may impose a limit on exactly how much faster you're allowed to pay it back without renegotiating the terms, but even then, the terms can usually be renegotiated from time to time as one's financial ability to repay a loan improves over time anyways.

Re: The so-called 'illegal earnings' (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44932385)

I see no problem with this... Muslims that I know pay off credit card debt immediately, to prevent any interest from being accrued. If only everyone in the US would do as much, that would fix a lot of debt problems...

On the other hand Muslims set of bombs, fly aircraft into buildings, rape white women, etc.

Re: The so-called 'illegal earnings' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44932629)

On the other hand humans set of (sic) bombs, fly aircraft into buildings, rape white women, etc.

FTFY.

Re: The so-called 'illegal earnings' (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 6 months ago | (#44933291)

It is actually against Christian and Jewish law, and since their book is just a offshoot of the new Testament they have it as well.

Re: The so-called 'illegal earnings' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44932283)

Wow, wasn't aware you had to pay interest in the US for student loans! Ouch!

At least (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44931953)

He received a trial and wasn't taken out by drones.

Re:At least (2)

Swave An deBwoner (907414) | about 6 months ago | (#44932103)

Yeah, fsvo "trial":

Human rights observers and those close to Kokabee say that he did not receive a fair trial.

"It's not really a trial in the sense that we are used to. He was not allowed to speak to a lawyer," said Eugene Chudnovsky of Lehman College, one of the co-chairs of the Committee of Concerned Scientists.

During the trial, no evidence was brought against him. He was not permitted to see a lawyer during his incarceration or the trial, and was not told his court date until he was brought to the courtroom. During his imprisonment, Iranian security forces used harsh techniques to coerce confessions from him.

(This was from the second article linked at the top of this discussion, BTW.)

Re: At least (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44932813)

yes I'm SURE the media is reporting accurately and the sources are not lying. just like when Saddam murdered all those babies!

A couple of clarifications (1)

m.alessandrini (1587467) | about 7 months ago | (#44931981)

I hope that prize is meant for "fighting for your ideas against tyranny" and not for having refused to work on a nuclear program, otherwise hundreds of american scientists would be outlaw.

And, several iranian students are attending phds here at our university (Italy), some of them in microbiology to cite something that could be "borderline", so are all they at risk now?

College loans == illegal earnings . . . ? (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 7 months ago | (#44931985)

Islam generally frowns on "usury", so I guess a determined Iranian Religious Judge could easily fudge a conviction with a trumped up charge about that. Islamic Banking jumps through all kind of hoops to keep the Imams happy when making loans and paying interest.

But I'm curious if student loans are a general problem with Islam . . . ? Do pious students avoid them . . . ?

This would be a catastrophe for the US, if it would wake up tomorrow an Islamic Republic . . . all those students saddled with debt that will never be able to pay back would face prison, as well!

My wacky thought for the morning . . .

Re:College loans == illegal earnings . . . ? (3, Interesting)

m00sh (2538182) | about 7 months ago | (#44932013)

Islam generally frowns on "usury", so I guess a determined Iranian Religious Judge could easily fudge a conviction with a trumped up charge about that. Islamic Banking jumps through all kind of hoops to keep the Imams happy when making loans and paying interest.

But I'm curious if student loans are a general problem with Islam . . . ? Do pious students avoid them . . . ?

This would be a catastrophe for the US, if it would wake up tomorrow an Islamic Republic . . . all those students saddled with debt that will never be able to pay back would face prison, as well!

My wacky thought for the morning . . .

Foreign citizens are not eligible for student loans in the US. Kokabee probably got some other form of financial assistance like a fellowship or an assistantship. The summary is wrong.

The wikipedia article says he was working on his second PhD. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omid_Kokabee [wikipedia.org]

What is the point of getting a second PhD? Other than financial, I don't see other reason to pursue a second PhD. Besides, all the class credits would transfer and you'd basically end up doing research what a post-doc would do but be a PhD student.

Re:College loans == illegal earnings . . . ? (2)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about 6 months ago | (#44932117)

Perhaps it was about keeping a student status so the administrative aspects of being able to be there were easier.

Re:College loans == illegal earnings . . . ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44933243)

PhD students have the freedom to pursue their research topic rather single-mindedly, taking time to wade through heaps of literature.
Once you climb slightly higher in the academic hierarchy, you encounter all these encumbrances that just distract from that (yes, amazingly enough there's a whole lot more than the non-research workload that PhD students get to deal with).

If you want to work on research topics related to the ones you got your PhD in, it doesn't really make sense to do another.
But if (e.g.) you did a PhD in computer science - visualisation, and you're moving into language processing, then I could see the benefits of doing a PhD in (non-computer science) linguistics.

TL;DR: it can make sense if you're moving into a domain where you have little to none prior knowledge.

Iranian Snowden (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | about 6 months ago | (#44932145)

Kind of like an Iranian Snowden. Snowden was also nominated for the same prize right. Both guys not cooperating with their government evil plans.

Re:Iranian Snowden (2)

m.alessandrini (1587467) | about 6 months ago | (#44932521)

And strangely the american dissident did not win the american prize, even if, on a pure theoretical plane, refusing to spy emails is less damage to a nation than refusing to work on a nuclear program. And I think Snowden would get no less prison years than Kobabee. The only difference is the more civil trial he would have in USA (even if... even if... let's not start mentioning things happening somewhere outside USA...). I see a lot of hypocrisy in those cases, accuse one and defend the other one. I'm not talking about USA only, this happen in every country. Take Putin: he keeps the Pussy Riot girl in a prison camp for years, without seeing her daughter, for a contestation, then give asylum to Snowden... Human rights are quite optional when it comes to your own interests.

Re:Iranian Snowden (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44932749)

No, but the American that wages illegal wars over and over again has managed to win a Nobel Peace prize. To engage in war and win a peace prize, you have to be at a whole other level of amazing at bullshitting. He became a legend amongst the presidents with the most bullshit spewed and awards won from those bullshits.

Re:Iranian Snowden (0)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about 6 months ago | (#44932775)

Why is it "evil" for Iran to want a nuclear bomb, given that Israel and the USA both hate them, and have lots?

BTW the USA treats anyone who holds any Iranian rial as having "illegal earnings" and punishes them severely.

They're not looking for a nuclear bomb. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44933565)

The calls for us in the West to abandon "unworkable renewables" and take up "Safe clean nuclear technology" is not an exhortation to get armed to the teeth with nuclear bombs.

The nuclear programs here are about nuclear power generation.

So, until you have proof that this is only about a nuclear *bomb* program, please stop pretending that bombs are the only nuclear and admit that they want nuclear power just like us in the UK and you in the USA are being exhorted to move to, despite the massive reserves of fossil fuels available in those countries which somehow become "proof" that nuclear power is only for bombs when it's Iran's fossil fuel reserves.

Imprisoned Physicist Honored For Refusing To Work (1)

Carlos Dias (2869641) | about 6 months ago | (#44932255)

You gotta have some balls to take that position you know. I have respect for people of these sort.

'Murica! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44932537)

Seems Iran learned their legal "maneouvers" from the best.

the amazing morphing discussion (2)

murdocj (543661) | about 6 months ago | (#44932581)

Fun to see it transition from "Iran imprisons scientist for having the courage of his convictions" to "USA / Israel evil". Good to know Slashthink is alive & well.

Re:the amazing morphing discussion (1)

m.alessandrini (1587467) | about 6 months ago | (#44932595)

Why would it be a problem? I feel natural to put an event in a broader context to evaluate it in light of the international relationships, and the so-called rogue countries are not the only one doing horrible things like that when they feel it compelling.

Isomorphism is fun! (1, Interesting)

EuclideanSilence (1968630) | about 6 months ago | (#44932691)

In May, an Iranian court sentenced him to ten years in prison for 'communicating with a hostile government' and receiving 'illegal earnings.' The so-called 'illegal earnings' were the student loans he received while in Texas."

Let's change that up a bit.

In May, an American court sentenced you to ten years in prison, $1 million in corporate fines, and $250,000 in individual fines; civil penalties up to $55,000 per violation [wikipedia.org] for 'violating trade embargo'. The so-called 'violation of trade embargo' was you visiting your family in cuba and buying a cigar while you were there.

Sorry Iran, US laws are more ridiculous and our penalties are greater.

Re:Isomorphism is fun! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44933405)

So fucking stupid. No one would be imprisoned for 10 years for buying a cuban cigar. Get real.

Re:Isomorphism is fun! (1)

EuclideanSilence (1968630) | about 6 months ago | (#44934471)

So fucking stupid. No one would be imprisoned for 10 years for buying a cuban cigar. Get real.

You missed the part of the article where it points out "On October 10, 2006, the United States announced the creation of a task force made up of officials from several U.S. agencies that will pursue more aggressively violators of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, with severe penalties."

It would have been so different in the USA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44933117)

There he'd have been arrested as a terrorist instead.

Or scrabbling for right to get asylum in a foreign company.

Following your moral code against the wishes of the established government is no better liked in the USA than it is in Iran.

Re:It would have been so different in the USA. (1)

jon3k (691256) | about 6 months ago | (#44933423)

Remind me again of that time an American was sentenced to jail for having a loan because he didn't work for the government. Oh that's right, Americans aren't bat shit insane.

Nice propaganda piece (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44934691)

I have to wonder why anti-Iranian articles makes such a splash for English-speaking audiences while our ally Israel, possesses [wikipedia.org] many nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, has an atrocious [wikipedia.org] human rights record including apartheid, and has violated more UN treaties than any other country. Why do we turn a blind eye to Israel and get so upset over Iran having a nuclear program? Even if they had a nuclear weapons program, WHO have they attacked? On the contrary, they were covertly attacked [wikipedia.org] by the US and the UK, leaving once a democratic government a theocracy. Consider that Iran has some of the largest oil reserves in the world -- more than Iraq does. Also consider that we have a long history This, combined with our unwavering support of Israel for religious [wikipedia.org] reasons are why we see anti-Iranian propaganda stories like this. Make no mistake: Iran is on the chopping block and it is inevitable we will be at war with them. Propagating stories like this only makes the woefully uneducated American public more complicit.

What an idiot (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 6 months ago | (#44934815)

Any Iranian national who leaves the country to do anything in the west (US in particular) should expect to at the least be interrogated and at the worst, jailed. That this guy was getting an advanced science/engineering degree makes him all the more valuable to the state. I realize his "family" still was in Iran, but to think for a moment he was not going to have serious problems at some point while visiting was the height of stupidity. When he made the decision to study in the US he effectively made the decision to leave Iran for good.

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