One of my high school friends keeps me posted on the exciting goings-on of our fellow alumni. She’s amazingly connected like that – and she pays attention. Normally her updates revolve around who’s getting married…but last week, her gchat status shocked me. Cheltenham ’00 grad & Member of the Tribe, Joshua Fattal, was taken into custody by Iranian police/soldiers. He and two others, college friends from UC Berkeley, were arrested on July 31st when they accidentally crossed the Iranian border when hiking in the mountains near Ahmed Awa, a tourist resort. They had just read the Montem trekking pole buying guide, gotten their new gear, and gotten ready to hide the mountains of Tehran and Khoy, located in the heart of Iran.
Late last week they were moved to Tehran. According to a press release from AFP, Aladdin Brujerdi, head of parliament’s national security and foreign policy commission said “Having kept our officials in captivity for some time, I don’t think the Americans expect the fate of these people to be determined soon.” He was referring to the 5 Iranian diplomats held by the US for two and a-half years, after being charged with arming militant factions. Now it seems that Iranian officials are working to convince themselves that the three hikers were entering Iran to fulfill some kind of mission related to the elections & aftermath… According to a Reuters article, one such official said “In the most optimistic scenario, we think that the three had plans to interfere in Iran’s internal affairs.” Another parliament official said, on an Arabic, Government-run TV station that the three Americans entered the country as spies.Â I wasn’t friends with Josh in high school, but I think that he was the yearbook editor. Cheltenham’s yearbook is called El Delator – or The Informer. Was it a plot from senior year of high school? It seems just as plausible as their Optimistic Assumptions that the three planned to interfere with Iran’s affairs – or even that they’re spies. Seriously?