Iran: Video broadcast provokes rare criticism

Iran's decision to broadcast video of two detained Iranian-Americans accused of conspiring against the country's security provoked rare public criticism of Tehran's hardline government. A two-part state television program that aired this week included a montage of disparate quotes from Haleh Esfandiari and Kian Tajbakhsh. The government billed the comments as confessions, but the detainees' families and employers and the U.S. said they were illegitimate and coerced. But in an unusual reaction in Iran, where national security issues normally go unchallenged publicly, some questioned the government's move to put the detained Iranian-Americans on display. "The era of (obtaining) televised confessions is over," the reformist newspaper Hambastegi said in a front-page editorial Saturday. "If it was an effective weapon, Western governments ... would have undoubtedly resorted to it."