Kuma/War Dev Faces Execution In Iran

By Alec Meer on January 10th, 2012 at 2:18 pm.

Deeply disturbing news: regardless of whether there’s any truth to these accusations, the idea that developing a game could lead to a man’s death is simply horrific. One of the developers of the infamous and oft-criticised Kuma/War series – which regularly releases game recreations of real-life, contemporary military conflicts, most recently the last stand of Gaddafi – has been sentenced to death in Iran. He’s charged with espionage, and with being paid by the CIA to create pro-US propaganda in the guise of videogames.

Amir Mizra Hekmati is an Iranian-American, holding passports in both nations, and found himself arrested when visiting family in Iran recently. The local authorities claim Hekmati has confessed to receiving CIA money to “design and distribute for free special movies and games with the aim of manipulating public opinion in the Middle East.” This, according to Iran and the purported confession, is the true aim of the free-to-play Kuma/War games. “The goal of the company in question was to convince the people of Iran and the people of the entire world that whatever the U.S. does in other countries is a good measure.”

One Kuma/War episode was entitled “Assault on Iran,” and documented a theoretical US military attempt to shut down the country’s burgeoning nuclear capabilities. Kuma boss Keith Halper told Gamasutra that this episode received thousands of downloads in Iran, and was attacked in an Ayatollah-controlled newspaper as revealing possible US policy. Iran’s nuclear program is of course a source of major fears in the West and Israel, but Iran has so far been unwilling to back down. The country claims its nuclear energy is intended for civilian use only, but watchdogs believe the country is now trialling nuclear enrichment at levels far beyond what would be required for power alone.

It probably doesn’t help that Kuma have publicly acknowledged they’ve provided software for the US army in the past (update – and Kotaku has ascertained that this was language-learning software, rather than anything military) – though Kuma/War is a separate, consumer endeavour that, so far as we know, receives no government or military funding. Iran believes otherwise, though no evidence to support this has been provided beyond Hekmati’s apparent confession.

Hekmati also claimed on Iranian state television that he had been sent to Iran’s Intelligence Agency on an infiltration mission by the CIA. The White House denies that Hekmati is any kind of US agent, with the National Security Council’s Tommy Vietor telling the New York Times that “The Iranian regime has a history of falsely accusing people of being spies, of eliciting forced confessions, and of holding innocent Americans for political reasons.”

Iran’s Revolutionary Court has found Hekmati guilty of being “Corrupt on Earth and Mohareb (waging war on God)” – a sentence which carries the death penalty. You can read extracts from his alleged confession here, including some rather oddly-worded praise for Iran’s security forces. Hekmati was formerly a member of the US marines, served in Iraq and did indeed receive espionage training. The New York Times suggest his arrest is perhaps more to do with Iran seeking leverage to expand its nuclear efforts, fearing that the US and Israel are increasingly likely to intervene with sanctions and, in the latter’s case, military actions. Talks between the two sides are due in Turkey soon; it is possible Iran is seeking all the capital it can gain to support its desire to continue nuclear expansion.

Given Hekmati’s background, the truth may well be even more complicated than it appears – but it’s very hard not to fear that the accusations are trumped up and he was forced into an untrue confession. His shocked parents claim, on a newly-created support website for their son, that ““His very life is being exploited for political gain.” Let’s hope someone is able to prevent the sentence from being carried out, get Hekmati back home safely and then go on to ascertain the full truth. The New York Times believes it’s unlikely the execution will come to pass if the case’s true intentions are to aid nuclear negotiations – but if it does, it would happen within the next 20 days.

__________________

« | »

.

180 Comments »

  1. Meat Circus says:

    Oh, Iran. You lovable rapscallions, you.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      Please, everyone, no matter how jocular your comments, do not generalise about ‘Iran’ and ‘The Iranians’ as a whole – in much the same way that I would not like Iraqis to imagine that I had the same opinions as Tony Blair. This is an act specifically committed by the regime and not the populace, many of whom have risked (or lost) their lives protesting against their authoritarian rulers. This is a horrific cruelty and we must properly attribute it to those who are responsible.

      *edit*

      Nor is there any need for the petty political bickering about America’s own culpability here when 99% of your audience are liberal, independently thinking, computer-game-playing internet users who are more than likely already of this opinion themselves. In such a situation writing about such things only makes you look monumentally crass in response to the possibility of this innocent man’s death. What have you become if you do not have the capacity to feel sympathy towards any innocent man condemned to death?

      Furthermore this event is absolutely not a justification for criticism of Amir Mizra Hekmati. Even if the major possibility of his completely unjustified death does not deter you from wanting to post vitriol, firstly you do not entirely know his motivations for returning to Iran and secondly it is evident in the extreme that nothing he has done in any way warrants this response from the Iranian government.

    • CMaster says:

      Iranians.

    • Bhazor says:

      I’ve always thought theres a great sitcom waiting to happen with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad being exiled from Iran and having to live in disguise in a small Brooklyn flat with an openly gay Jewish woman. It’d be like the odd couple.

      But with race hate*.

      *I know Judaism isn’t genetic but it’s amazing how many anti-semites seem to think it is.

    • phuzz says:

      edit -reply fail

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      Sorry CMaster, a typo, I’ve changed it now.

    • Wreckdum says:

      Did anyone ever stop to question whether or not this guy could have worked for the CIA? He was in the Marine Corps… I know everyone looks at Iran like the new Hitler but the United States isn’t the most honest organization in the world either. They use people like toilet paper.

    • piratmonkey says:

      Uh, no one thinks “everyone in Iran is the new Hitler.” And again, just because the U.S. does things that are despicable does not make this any less so.
      Also: the Marine Corps and CIA are worlds apart.

    • Navagon says:

      Yeah, the CIA exists to create enemies for America to fight and the Marine Corps exists to fight them. Worlds apart.

    • piratmonkey says:

      Nice simplification, I’m entirely glad that the CIA and Marine Corps have never contributed to positive things in any way. Whew.

    • lurkalisk says:

      Humans like to generalize. It’s not just westerners generalizing Iranians, most people generalize just about anything thing they don’t like and/or don’t have enough knowledge about.

    • rayne117 says:

      “Humans like to generalize.”

      Nice generalization. >_>

    • Deuteronomy says:

      Not every RPS reader is a self loathing liberal who views western civilisation as something inherently evil.

    • Alder says:

      “Not every RPS reader is a self loathing liberal who views western civilisation as something inherently evil.”

      I would like to write here something like “All right-wing conservators thumbs up!”

  2. Sheng-ji says:

    My support and thoughts go out to him and his family. No matter what the truth is, the situation is terrible and I only hope they have a happy ending.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      Surely it matters quite a lot what the truth is, but yeah, getting the gist…

    • DrGonzo says:

      I don’t think it does matter. Even if the claims did turn out to be true, he shouldn’t be executed!

    • Ruffian says:

      Fuck War and the War-Mongering asshats, who make this shit possible. In this day and age I really do not understand how people can look at other people and not see just people, regardless of borders, and religion and all that other imaginary crap. I really really hope that aliens (the outer space kind) attack very soon, so that we might stop all this in-fighting, and finally realize that we all want the same damn things out of life.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      You know, dude, this is a problem. Lumping things like “borders and religion” together as if all of them were all the same, much less all “imaginary” just shows how much you fail at understanding the issues here. I suppose money and politics are “imaginary” as well. As is “language” and “property” anything not pre-defined by actual science and the physical world.

      Just because some things are defined by people, that doesn’t mean the fact that a lot of people do consider them to be important is irrelevant. Throwing out all the things that literally billions of others consider important as “imaginary” just leads to pseudo-intellectual wanking and everyone ignoring you (or buying your books, but you have to be really witty and really British and throw in sci fi and/or fantasy elements for that to work). So try a bit harder to actually think about real life issues and you may eventually succeed at forming an opinion that doesn’t make an instant strawman of your opponents and force others to ignore you.

    • zbeeblebrox says:

      er…MadTinkerer, technically money, politics, language, and the concept of property ARE all imaginary.

  3. Phantoon says:

    My god he’s trying to corrupt that baby, too!

    But seriously, that’s terrible. If Iran wants to be a world player, maybe they should stop being so frickin’ crazy.

    • Orija says:

      Being crazy didn’t stop China and the US from becoming world players

    • Ruffian says:

      Too true.

    • Captchist says:

      I’m not in the slightest bit defending what the Iranian Government has done here, it’s despicable. But it does come across as somewhat playing with fire on his part to make simulations of the invasion of Iran when the invasion of Iran is a contentious issue, and then to go to Iran on holiday from the US.
      What I interested to know is the tone of these games. Are they revolutionary/political, or are they purely “for fun”?

  4. ShEsHy says:

    “The Iranian regime has a history of falsely accusing people of being spies, of eliciting forced confessions, and of holding innocent Americans for political reasons.”
    I lold at this. Swap out a couple of word and you get:
    “The American regime has a history of falsely accusing people of being terrorists, of eliciting forced confessions, and of holding innocent Muslims for political reasons.”

    On a side note, hope they free him, no matter whether he did it or not (if making pro-anyone material is an execution worth crime, than every Hollywood writer, producer and director should be executed aswell, along with 99% of gaming story writers,…).

    • Lewis Denby says:

      That kinda seems to be by the by given the circumstances, though, doesn’t it?

    • GenBanks says:

      Point being?

    • rocketman71 says:

      Both are completely true.

    • Berzee says:

      Swap a few more words and you get:

      “The bungalow regime has a future of falsely adoring pepper and being terrified, of elucidating former confrontations, and of holding innovative meetings for poltergeist raisins.”

    • ShEsHy says:

      @Berzee (srry, can’t reply to your post directly)
      Yea, but what I wrote is true, not just a play on words ;).

    • johnpeat says:

      Whilst we’re turning things around – if an Iranian game designer had come to the US after producing a game which allowed you to fly planes into skyscrapers/blow-up trains etc. – would he be given a VIP ticker to Disneyworld or Guantanamo Bay, I wonder…

    • MidoriChaos says:

      I wonder if we’re going to get pictures of My Little Pony again.

    • Unaco says:

      The point shouldn’t be whether the US is the Great Satan, or if Iran is a threat to Global Security or whatever… Doesn’t matter who is right or wrong, or more right than the other, or more wrong than the other.

      The point is, assuming this guy isn’t a CIA Spy, he’s an innocent Game Dev caught between these two nations, and is facing execution.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      I would imagine most people have families and friends, from the evilest terrorist to the most saintly charity worker. Why should discussion be moderated just because someone has a family?

    • phuzz says:

      If one of your friends or family members is in the news, do yourself a favour and don’t read comment threads about them.
      Especially the daily mail.
      trust me on this one, you’ll be better off not knowing.

    • Xerian says:

      @Johnpeat Ah but see, this guy is Iranian himself. “Iranian-American” See? Its riiiiight there.
      But fuck, this is just… Fuck. This is the most insane thing I’ve seen the Iranian government ever do. Or any government for that matter… Fuck. I just… Shit. (Sorry, I’m just… Fuck, really fucking shocked… Shit)

  5. Unaco says:

    Whatever is going on between Iran and the USofA and the rest of the World, this one guy shouldn’t be being used as a pawn in the whole thing.

  6. squirrel says:

    So should Iran declare war on Czech because BIS supplies military simulators to NATO and its allies?!

    Oh, and Sweden too as DICE’s Battlefield 3 “advocates” to launch war on Iran.

    • Stevostin says:

      I am actually pretty sure iranian ppl in general (and not only their governement) aren’t too hot about BF3. Imagine in 1938 a German producer doing a… say a movie about bombing UK in a heroic way. Pretty hard to sit in a negociation table in a quite mood next.

  7. johnpeat says:

    He has to have been mad to return there surely – it can’t exactly have been unobvious he’d be a target for this sort of bullshit??

    I read Shappi Khorshandi’s book over Xmas, which mostly talks about how her parents brought her to the UK after her father (a noted Iranian satirist/comedian) upset the wrong people – and that was 30+ years ago, BEFORE the US made the whole thing far, far worse…

    • Pete says:

      Indeed, I think an American flying to a country with “Death to America” as a national slogan has to have thought about his safety before flying there. Especially given that he’d worked for the American military.

    • DodgyG33za says:

      If he is working as a CIA spy, he has to be top of their stupid spy list.

      If he isn’t working for the CIA he has to be top of the stupid I-ranian American list.

      The two countries are in a fast-getting-hotter cold war at the moment. Not a good time to be going to look up relatives.

      Darwinism in action.

  8. egg says:

    Damn. Don’t really like the concept of his games, but this sucks big time. Even if you guys hadn’t posted a sentimental picture of the guy with a baby.

  9. Berzee says:

    Well, I will proceed to play me some Kuma War this evening.
    Mayhaps.

  10. Pete says:

    Suppose the nationalities are reversed, and an Iranian writes a computer game simulating flying aircraft into buildings. Suppose he is stopped by the TSA. Do you think they’d ever let him out of Guantanamo? Do you think they might carry out a drone strike on his house?

    Iran isn’t mad, they’re just on the other side. Ever since the US overthrew their elected government in 1959 to reinstate the monarchy, they’ve wanted to get even.

    • Hisui says:

      With no knowledge of Amerikkano laws, my guess is still going to be that the Iranian writing a computer game simulating flying aircraft into buildings is far less likely to get his head chopped off in ‘mericuh than this guy is under Sharia law in Iran.

    • johnpeat says:

      But the US are the forces of GOOD – locking people up without trial and torturing them daily for years is OK because they’re the GOOD guys

      Don’t you understand anything – I mean they even let a black man run the place, that’s how good they are…

      They make movies about dogs and they give a lot to charity (although they spent more on porn tbh)

      When will people learn it’s OK to steal and murder so long as you’re rich and pretty…

    • Pete says:

      That’s probably true so far, although the US is happy to execute “suspected terrorists” with missiles, and this has already included one American national.

      Having said all this, I’d like to make it clear that I hope he doesn’t get executed!

    • Zeewolf says:

      Two wrongs don’t make a right, you know?

    • InternetBatman says:

      There’s still a large difference between that and execution.

    • InternetBatman says:

      @Johnpeat That is the first time I have ever heard anyone call Americans pretty.

    • arienette says:

      Of course Iran is mad, but so’s America and both sides are wrong!

    • Alec Meer says:

      The point really is not that another country might also do bad things. (Because of course they might, and they have). But the point is that a very bad thing *has* been done to someone.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      @Alec, that is silly though because we need to understand the wider context of what is going on between Iran and the US to understand why this is happening. At least three Iranian Nuclear scientists have been murdered (I wonder if any of them had cute baby pictures you could post) as well as cyber attacks and potential US special forces attacks: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15741989 In this context one should expect the Iranian government to be much more paranoid and lash out in ways like this.

      It is deeply unfortunate this is happening and it is a really bad thing if this guy isn’t a CIA asset but to pretend context doesn’t matter simply because this guy is a games designer is the height of folly.

    • johnpeat says:

      @Alec Meer You’re kidding, right? We should only talk about the obviously bad aspects of this and not, even for a moment, consider the bigger picture??

      It’s a horrible state of affairs when Governments use people as pawns to advance their own (whacky/insane) agenda – but that applies to EVERYONE.

      That’s the obvious dark-ages-dwelling barbarians in the Middle East AND the better dressed/partially disguised barbarians living in the West (both driven by religious fervour AND the belief that they’re both entitled AND right).

    • Alec Meer says:

      No, I’m not saying that. I’m saying don’t outright ignore or shrug off the awful reality that a guy might well die, just because you’re so mad-keen to point out the self-evident truth that other nations are complete dickheads too.

    • Unaco says:

      @johnpeat,

      That isn’t what Alec said though, was it.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      @John Peat – He’s been sentenced to death for being corruption on earth and waging war on god – basically he’s being threatened with being killed for not believing in the Iranian governments imaginary friend.

      Not even in your wildest imagination would the US do that.

    • Stupoider says:

      @Sheng-ji

      But that’s not -completely- true, is it.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      The US has killed and imprisoned people for politcally motivated reasons hundreds if not thousands of times. The CIA has toppled dozens of governments, many of them democratically elected: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covert_United_States_foreign_regime_change_actions and invaded countries on made up lies about WMDs.

      Lets not pretend the US is any better in this discussion or Iran is wholly without reason to suspect the CIA may be operating in their country at this time.

    • johnpeat says:

      @Alec Meer I think you’re trying to steer people’s views on “your” story – and assuming anyone deviating from your idea of discussion is somehow missing the point or trivialising the issue.

      No-one here – I’m sure – thinks this is a great state-of-affairs and/or wants to belittle the seriousness of it – but I think it’s important that people see this in the larger context rather than treating the story as some sort of isolated incident which is different to thousands of other cases because ‘he’s a game designer’.

      You might think it’s “self evident truth” but here in the west we have this way of distorting reality – I’m sure there are 1000s of people in the same situation as this guy in Iran and there are others little better off in the US, the UK and most other countries.

      Posting this story here and expecting it to live in some sort of microcosm “because he’s a game designer” is slightly odd really – the Iranian Regime sees this man as a pawn to further their mindgames with their people – we should see him as a person but one of MANY who all deserve not to be used in that way regardless of their race or belief.

    • piratmonkey says:

      @johnpeat there ARE people trivializing the issue simply because they are “so keen to point out that other nations are dickheads too.” That is the irritating part.

    • Alec Meer says:

      Nope! You’re quoting things that weren’t said, and it’s really because you don’t like any interference at all.

      (Honestly, if you can’t see the enormous difference between something that comes across as “so what, America’s awful too” and “this is horrible, but one of the reasons it might be happening is…” you really do need Internet Sympathy Lessons.)

    • Sheng-ji says:

      @Stupoider

      If America was a Muslim state, this man would not be imprisoned right now. Dress it up how you like, but I think what I wrote was entirely accurate.

    • datom says:

      Simple sense check before posting ‘relative badnes of nation states’

      Q: Do I think what’s happening to this guy is okay?

      YES – feel free to post comparisons between other nation’s illegimate punishments. Some other site, please.

      NO – there’s no need to muddy the waters by posting some tripe about how Genghis Khan was a bad person also.

      Regardless of anything, a man who works in the computer game community is going to be executed. I think it’s wise we keep our reflections to this. Any further than that and we’re simply musing on the state of the world, which pretty much can be done on any and all internet sites, but is pretty much destructive in this context.

    • pigsdofly says:

      @Sheng-ji:
      Nah. If the US were muslim, they would just make up some other reason for hating them, because none of this is really about religion anyway – its just a useful way of covering up their real motivations.

      Anyway, if we’re going to point fingers at anybody, it should be us, for messing up the middle east in the first place with all that colonialism nonsense.

    • Consumatopia says:

      Not sure what this hypothetical has to do with anything, but Iran has lots of Muslim enemies. Saudi Arabia and Iran have no qualms about executing each others’ spies.

      Iran may dress up the charges in theocratic language, but they basically want to execute this guy for making what they believe is anti-Iranian propaganda.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      @ Pete: There were two “suspected terrorist” Americans that were taken out by drones. And they were really only considered “suspected” for the case of formality. One guy openly published an anti-American newsletter promoting al-Qaeda and their philosophies, with other such top sellers as “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.” The dude he was with was a known leader of and recruiter for al-Qaeda and had directly talked and consulted with the 9/11 hijackers, Ft Hood attacker, and the Xmas day bomber. So, the whole “suspected” thing is really a lot more than just some kind of wild speculation or something.

      Yes, the USA does messed up stuff. It does it all the time. But if you really think that the USA is in any way parallel to Iran in their treatment of human rights, you’re delusional.

    • DrGonzo says:

      @Alec Meer

      I think to be fair you are misquoting him too now.

      @mcgee

      It’s not that people think they are ‘parallel’. I just think it’s incredibly arrogant to comment on them when we treat people so horrifically in the west.

      You deserve to work for no money in a labour camp making our crap only to eventually commit suicide and we don’t care, because you are far away. For example. Yet this is completely terrible and different for some reason.

  11. Jajusha says:

    “Several people said to be close to the president and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, have been arrested in recent days and charged with being “magicians” and invoking djinns (spirits).

    Ayandeh, an Iranian news website, described one of the arrested men, Abbas Ghaffari, as “a man with special skills in metaphysics and connections with the unkown worlds….”

    What do you expect from those middle age barbarians?

    • Gepetto says:

      Yep. I can’t help but feel that trying to understand the thinking (and behaviour) of these sorts of folk is a task doomed to failure.

    • hello_mr.Trout says:

      @Gepetto
      that is a bad attitude tho! i am not sure you would *ever* start to understand someone if that was your stated approach!

    • Gepetto says:

      @hello_mr.Trout
      Nothing should stop you from *trying* it. Just be aware that the culture and mindset is so alien to a western way of thinking. Far wiser and worldly people than me or you will be astonished at this story.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Remember when George W Bush assured his people in public that Jesus told him to invade Iraq?

      http://www.theage.com.au/news/iraq/god-told-me-to-invade-says-bush/2005/10/07/1128562952070.html
      http://www.alternet.org/world/43576/

      No one has a monopoly on superstitious idiocy for political leverage.

    • edit says:

      Don’t think the powers that be in the west aren’t all over that stuff as well. They just like to keep monopoly over such areas of research by propagating a media image of magic that makes Joe Public scoff at the idea while remaining oblivious to how his subconscious is being manipulated by symbols, sound and imagery on a daily basis. Research the origins of the terms ‘media’ and ‘Hollywood’ for some fun trivia. The rabbit hole is deep and wide. Gee, I don’t know, for a start have a look at ‘remote viewing’ as used by the U.S. military.

  12. Kektain says:

    Wow. Best wishes to the Hekmati family that this is just more saber-rattling of a frightened little country and he’s released soon and without further harm.

    As an admittedly callous aside, this might be a large feather in the games-are-art folks’ cap.

  13. westyfield says:

    An astonishing cavalcade of point-missing, here. Still, I expected nothing better.

    • sneetch says:

      Yeah. It is still disappointing to see though. Every time, without fail, if there is a point to be missed then it will be missed, but we can rest assured it’s only missed by a small, vocal minority.

  14. Jesse L says:

    Comment threads like this make me…it’s hard to define. Very upset. I should know better than to look. Christ, guys.

    • Hisui says:

      Comment threads are always bad, you know? Even on RPS. Sometimes also especially on RPS, because it’s so big.

    • johnpeat says:

      If the thread makes you…

      why comment?

    • Stupoider says:

      Agreed with Frightlever, if America and Israel jump on this as some sort of casus belli then Iran’s going to be in an even worse state than it is now.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      If claim you find nothing at all lamentable in the death of an innocent man then you’re either a liar or a despicable person.

      OF COURSE Western warmongering is equally, if not more, horrific. But does that prevent you from expressing your condolences here (or simply not posting a crass comment)? Does your heart not have enough capacity for sympathy to accommodate more than one website’s comments thread?

    • Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

      “If claim you find nothing at all lamentable in the death of an innocent man then you’re either a liar or a despicable person. ”

      The problem is that we don’t know if he is innocent or not. For all we know Iran may be entirely justified in doing what they are doing. The guy has a CV that just screams espionage and gamer or not we need to be balanced and consider that Indie game developer or not we have absolutely no grounds to pass judgement here. We are not in possession of the full set of facts and we are only hearing a very skewed story here.

      My main objection is that I do not believe that it is morally responsible for RPS to start inflaming anti-Iranian hatred when we are on the brink of war.

      Remember all the newspapers screaming that Iraq had WMD and were in bed with Osama Bin Laden? Well, RPS has just stepped into their shoes.

    • piratmonkey says:

      Well done @Wooly Wugga Wugga, you’re the first person I’ve blocked.

    • Skabooga says:

      If I cannot talk about the Hekamati tragedy in light of the Iraqi war tragedy, then I cannot talk about the Iraqi War tragedy in light of the World War II tragedy. And I cannot talk about any of that in light of the meteor which wiped out 95% of megafauna on Earth 60 million years ago tragedy.

    • trigonometryhappy says:

      @piratmonkey can I ask why you would block him?

      I might not agree with wooly on this point, but I’m not gonna go all ‘see no evil, here no evil, la la la la on his ass.

  15. Manac0r says:

    All the Shahs’ men is a worthwhile read for a history of recent Iranian politics, including the revolution.

    I maybe stating the obvious but there is a big difference between the people of a nation and it’s government. I was in Tehran recently and people there agree their leaders are corrupt, zealous and dangerous (although this is whispered in hush tones). It’s a complicated history, the revolution created a vacuum where a fanatic few ceased power through mass manipulation, they continue to hold power and surpress any movement that opposes it. This a pure political move and my sympathies to the families and individuals involved. But please don’t berate a people, culture and history due to a government political order/agenda.

    Americans should be able to relate to that.

    • Blackcompany says:

      As an American, I can relate to this. Please don’t hate all of us because our politicians are idiots. We are not all like that, I promise.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      The really sad thing in Iran is that the Ayatollah (supreme religious leader, imagine a combo of the pope and the British Queen but with more power and influence) has slowly been able to neuter what effective political and civil bodies there were in Iran. Elections previously had some influence but this is slipping away as the Ayatollah consolidates his power.

      An attack or invasion probably will make the Ayatollah even more powerful, the Iran-Iraq war was the perfect cover for Islamic fundamentalists to eliminate other groups, especially left wing ones, that had taken part in the revolution.

  16. moarage says:

    spy or not, death sentence would not be justified in this case.

  17. Kleppy says:

    Yep that freedom of speech is certainly a capital offense. WTG Iran, you show those damn Americans how it’s done.

    edit: to clarify, obviously the US and other countries are just as guilty in similar circumstances. Doesn’t make this OK in any way.

  18. piratmonkey says:

    It saddens me to see the dismissal by so many people of his situation. The “well he’s American, so fuck him because America does things I disagree with” attitude is infinitely depressing.

    • johnpeat says:

      I don’t think anyone is saying that at all – I don’t think any sees this as less than a horrible and stupid situation

      All people are saying is that stories like this can be used as propaganda by BOTH sides – the Iranians scoring points with their people for ‘defending them against the Great Satan’ and the US/Israel polishing their bayonnets as they gain more material to support their case for ANOTHER war.

      Nowhere in that does this man count for jack shit – sadly – nor do thousands of other people and that’s why I personally think it’s OK to highlight that here without being disrespectful or trivialising anything.

    • Stupoider says:

      Is anyone actually saying that though? Most of the people appealing for the bigger picture realise that this is a sordid, sorry case of injustice and human rights violation, just because considering America’s backstory in Iran’s actions doesn’t make it any less of a crime, instead it just gives us a better view of why Iran is doing it.

    • piratmonkey says:

      “Former US marine arrested in Iran = sadface?
      US invasion of Iraq results in 100,000s of Iraqi deaths and a boom(!) in terrorism = what?
      Bad things happen to people every day. If you feel something special about this case, ask yourself why, and perhaps consider that you’re being manipulated.”
      Going to go out on a limb here but this seems to be a callous disregard for the issue at hand.
      Anyway, I think everyone here is intelligent enough to realize what America’s role in the Middle East has been and that has definitely influenced the actions of Iran. However, to keep posting about it is entirely to shout to the world, “HEY AMERICA DOES BAD STUFF TOO YOU GUYS, REMEMBER?”
      No one thinks Iran just does this out of the blue, of course there is a political point to it. It’s just that there is a distinct lack of empathy for the fact that he has been sentenced to death.

  19. TODD says:

    Iran isn’t so bad in the big scheme of things. You may abhor its theocratic dictatorship putting women to death for being the victim of rape, imprisoning opposition politicians for treason, kidnapping foreign nationals, officially denying the Holocaust while threatening to wipe Israel off the map, and aggressively pursuing nuclear armament to that end — but just look at the USA! They have, like, Guantanamo Bay and shit.

    • johnpeat says:

      The ‘shit’ including

      Deposing the democratically elected Government of Iran, imposing a ruler on the country and supporting him with arms and considerable wealth (see also most other Middle-Eastern/North African) countries

      Pushing Irans neighbour (Iraq) into waging (and then funding) waragainst Iran causing untold casualties on both sides

      Choosing to list Iran in their list of ‘bad people’ at a point where their rulers were the most tolerant they’d been for decades, effectively handing power back into the hands of the nutjobs people had worked hard to sideline.

      and that’s just the major plot points for one country…

    • Greg Wild says:

      The lesser of two evils is still an evil.

      Such is the nature of power; the people of the world shouldn’t accept the arrogance of politicians in Washington OR Tehran.

    • TODD says:

      @johnpeat: Wow, that’s some revisionist history. There were decades of tension and conflict between Iraq and Iran prior to the 1980 war. It wasn’t until 1982, while Iran was overwhelmingly winning the war and after Ayatollah Khomeini rejected a peace agreement proposed by Saddam Hussein, that both NATO and the USSR and assorted other countries began supporting Iraq in any significant capacity. NO ONE wanted a theocratic Shia regime installed in Iraq because, in 1982, Saddam Hussein was one of the most secular, foreign-friendly leaders in the region.

      The Ayatollah ruled Iran long before the “Axis of Evil” speech. You give the United States an awful lot of credit for things it is realistically incapable of accomplishing on its own. It couldn’t even create stable governments in Iraq and Afghanistan by invading them directly. It’s intellectually lazy and very “tinfoil hat” to ascribe to the CIA every major world event in the last half of the twentieth century.

    • Stevostin says:

      Always the same thing : “well this country is bad so it’s ok to hate it ” ie it’s ok to bomb it and says a few year later that all things considered it was actually not a good idea because it just killed a heap of people, destroyed a heap of stuff, send back the cultural level a few decade back in time and achieved no sensible democratic progress of any kind – hell, residual resistance… sorry terrorism even made sure it wasn’t a good deal either.

      You don’t know if that country is “bad”, and neither do I. You and I don’t because “bad” where we live isn’t the same as “bad” in that country, in a way we’d probably need years to understand. You don’t because everything to know about what happen their comes from a variety of sources that has been proven to lie at one point or another : Iran gov, OTAN gov, OTAN press, Iran Press, empty shell ONGs, dodgy or uncompetent or most likely “not even there” press and so on.

      Now you know how this work : once the NATO population is reasonably ok with it, NATO just bomb the shit of anyone for reasons of its own. The real life equivalent would be to go kill your neighbor because you hear him beating his wife. Well we all understand it can’t work like that, so what’s so hard about figuring the same goes at international scale ?

      The question isn’t if we, poorly informed citizen, like or dislike Iran regime.

      The question is what kind of international law do we want.

      So far the law seems to be “OTAN can bomb the shit out of anyone it want”.

      Well, me, I’d like to make the written law applied. Stuff like “you don’t attack a country that didn’t attack you in the first place”. Even if it’s a country with a resource your country lack or a country with a regime you dislike, or even if you’ve spend a ridiculous amount of cash on weapons and it would be a tremendous waste of ressources not to kill anyone with those.

      Now either you think that would be a change for the best or you don’t. But at least let’s avoid the “they’re baddies” non sense. What’s the international rule and balance we want ?

    • piratmonkey says:

      That rant, for the most part, has zero application to the article and subsequent discussion, but well done.

  20. Greg Wild says:

    Utterly tragic and horrendous. Once again, the political schemes of an arrogant elite are causing untold pain and suffering to common people. It’s the same story the world over.

  21. Tyrone Slothrop. says:

    It’s depressingly telling when we know the life of this man and feel all empathy towards him due to a unjust sentence of death yet incomparably more people are anonymously murdered in drone strikes.

    …but Iran has so far been unwilling to back down.” This is a completely ignorant distortion Mr. Meer. An examination of the documentary record against bullshit official pieties will show the U.S. is making uncompromising demands and if one were a super-power, why wouldn’t you?

    Which nation is incessantly threatening the other? Which has an entire political class counselling of outcome of war, whose officials at almost every federal bureaucracy and whose even potential leaders either speak euphemistically about ‘all options being on the table‘ or outright threaten invasion. Obviously it’s the nation that can actually do that, as opposed to one authoritarian demagogue sabre-rattling to appeal to a nation’s legitimate and illegitimate grievances knowing full-well the remotest act of violence will have his nation turned into glass. And those aren’t empty threats, the U.S. military and its bases occupy every neighbouring country, threats by the way which are explicitly banned under the U.N charter.

    Indeed looking at modern Iranian history, it’s hard not to believe the U.S. has some kind of institutionalised fetish for brutalising Iran; Once Mosaddegh tried to nationalise the oil fields depriving British and American concerns of control over said resources, he was brutally deposed and the Shah reinstalled whose reign was typified by throwing dissidents onto electrified steel-spring bed frames and whilst personally living in supreme decadence. After the revolution to depose him and the reactionary horrors that entailed from the genesis of this madness, the U.S. gave chemical and biological weapons to Saddam Hussein to fight Iran in a decade-long war, killing over a million people with between half and one million being Iranians. The U.S. now funds covert terror operations within Iran, providing funding and propagandistic support to elements like the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) who claim to have killed tens of thousands of Iranians, though the figure is probably only in the thousands.

    Despite all this, the virtually continuous atrocity that is U.S. policy towards itself, Iran offered a magnanimous offer to the U.S. in 2002 after 9/11, promising full co-operation against terrorism, political reforms and normalised relations. A stunned Colin Powell brought it to Dick Cheney, who refused outright feeling to accept would reward ‘bad behaviour’.

    But Iran is the recalcitrant party that one should be concerned about?

    Also if you have read this, I apologise for this overly-long rant on the somewhat inappropriate venue of a PC gaming community website, but I felt I needed to speak my mind on the matter.

  22. Cryptoshrimp says:

    Governments are shit. Especially those with arseholes in them.

  23. Tadpol says:

    The day after we learn that a US Marine is being sentenced to death in Iran on accusations of being a spy, now I see that a game developer is going to be executed for the same accusations.

  24. wodin says:

    A few years ago I watched a video from Iran of a whole village including kids going to watch a man being impaled. It was a family day out.

    The video was graphic enough but the kids loved it. Considering during the Crusades we where the barbarians and they where civilised it seems that everything has been turned on it’s head. They seem to be living the way we where in the 11th century.

    Infact all this stems from the Crusades before America existed as a country called USA.

    Something went terribly wrong in the middle east with regards to their culture.

    Anyone who defends the middle east and tries to paint the USA as just as bad, in my opinion are talking crap. Now Israel and Palestine thats another matter. There we have a case of a people who where on the wrong end of genocide commiting attrocities themselves, worse of it is many of their leaders over the years actually escaped Germany only to go on and persecute another people because “God” said it was thier country.

    Anyway thats another issue altogether.

    It seems to be in the in thing and very “now” and trendy to denounce America and defend the middle east.

    • lasikbear says:

      Yo, I don’t think most people here that are denouncing the US are defending Iranian government, just defending people stuck in a country that has a shitty government and/or people who happen to live in the middle east and despite being victimized by a lot of the powers there tend to be criticized for living in the same place as them.

      As for criticizing the US (and dropping random anecdotes), as one of the most influential countries in the world shouldn’t the US try to you know, do a better job than say, Iran. At like, civil rights, human rights and all that. I mean, clearly a lot of shit is way better, but (anecdote time) we also had people applauding a presidential candidates record of executing 273 people.

      I guess my point is mostly, I think everyone is aware that in general stuff in the US is going well, but they also think that the bad stuff is still really shitty and we ought to not do that especially as the Champion of Freedom and Democracy or however we are branding ourselves these days.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      America has the death penalty too, right?

    • piratmonkey says:

      Not for using free speech. And the death penalty is state-by-state business.

  25. Caleb367 says:

    This doesn’t sound right. I mean, I’m checking the story on non-US/UK news sources, and I’ve found no mentions neither of Kuma/War nor “corrupt on earth” stuff.
    I quote:

    “The 28-year-old received the death penalty for “cooperating with a hostile nation, membership of the CIA and trying to implicate Iran in terrorism,” the verdict said, according to the country’s semi-official Fars news agency.

    Last month, Fars reported that the prosecution had applied for capital punishment because the suspect “admitted that he received training in the United States and planned to imply that Iran was involved in terrorist activities in foreign countries” after returning to the US.”

    Now, I like to hear both sides of every story before believing any, but this sounds like pretty serious charges. ‘sides, I don’t think an Iranian agent captured in the US would fare much better.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Read ‘Persepolis’

    • Caleb367 says:

      I may be mistaken, but I don’t recall this Persepolis being the Book Of Ultimate And Undeniable Truth, I Assure You By The Grace Of God And The American Way, so your point is moot, i fear.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      no, you stupid, warhammer codexes are the books of undeniable truth.

      Persepolis beautifully illustrates some of regime’s practices and propaganda tools you appear to be taking seriously.

    • Skabooga says:

      I’m inclined to believe the charges are trumped up, if only because Iran has a history of doing this. See the Iranian government’s treatment of the Baha’i community there, the ongoing debacle with their dissolution of the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education and the arrest of its lecturers. Similar charges of corruption were leveled there, and espionage charges have been leveled against Baha’i community leaders in the past as well.

    • TheGameSquid says:

      @Ultra Superior
      Persepolis is an account of the life of a Iranian woman who grew up in Iran in the 70′s. Nothing more, nothing less. It gives some insight into the recent cultural history of Iran, but I’m absolutely sick and tired of people claiming it’s some sort of historical document. That was never even it’s intention. It’s a pseudo-autobiography. You should never even cite a single source as your source of truth, even if it WAS meant to be a serious work document the last 50 years of Iran’s history.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      @The Gamesquid

      Nerd rage much? You got lil’ carried away, my friend. No one is citing anything.

      Especially not you.

    • Caleb367 says:

      Ok, you’re clearly a poor troll. The random insults and not expanding on your supposed points gave you away.

      (btw: Khomeini’s revolution happened in the late ’70s, so “in the seventies” means under the Western-friendly generalissimo-self-proclaimed-king Reza Pahlevi)

  26. theblazeuk says:

    Has anyone seen any mention of games development anywhere else?

    Every report I have seen this is conspicuously absent given the relevance of the games in regards to the Iranians case, at least as its described on here.

    • Elltot says:

      Both Edge and PC Gamer have the same information, though who knows who their source is.

    • Oreb says:

      The Tehran Times published excerpts of Hekmati’s televised confession (see link in Mr. Meer’s article above). Hekmati’s confession includes the information that he worked for Kuma (Reality Games).

      I have seen this story reported in numerous U.S. news outlets, and it blows my mind that this is the first I’ve heard of the game-developer connection. Thank you Alec for reporting on the story.

  27. salad10203 says:

    Middle East has been and always will be the crazy-capital of the world. Iran is a rich country with a possibly healthy economy, instead they elect to be the next North Korea and be bat-shit crazy, such as executing shitty game developers.

  28. Ultra Superior says:

    Disregard to human life, disregard to human rights – it is all too common in Islamic states.

    It is a different mentality based on different roots. No one living in the “atlantic” civilization can deny it’s an extremely luxurious society where the rights of an individual matter – you can be gay, you can have porn, you can make crappy games, you can worship anything you want – though it’s far from ideal, it’s objectively the best and most humane civilization in the world.

    Too bad the savage rest of the world is now on the rise.

    • lasikbear says:

      Yo, referring to an incredibly broad group of people as ‘savage[s]‘ never makes your point come off better

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Hmm. Wordplays.

      “Savage = uncivilized; barbarous; cruel”

      EDIT: also the fact you too see that the “savage” part of the world is “incredibely broad group of people” kinda illustrates my point.

    • Unaco says:

      I disagree with you Ultra. I don’t think it is specific to Islamic, or non-Western cultures. I think it’s to do with time… the Age and Advancement of a civilisation/culture, and the dominant Religion.

      Islam is around 1400 years old, as a Religion/Culture. That’s ~600 years younger than Christianity. And what was Christianity up to 600 years ago, when it was the same age as Islam is now? Lots of anti-Semitism, persecution of the ‘savages’ in the Holy Land, superstition, anti Scientific sentiment, some more anti-Semitism, some sectarian violence, persecution of other Religions, even more anti-Semitism, the Spanish Inquisition, Puritanism, and just a little bit more anti-Semitism, for good measure.

      Such ugliness isn’t restricted to Islam. I think it’s part of the evolution of a Religion/Culture.

    • Wizardry says:

      This is nothing to do with Islamic states. Life was just as bad (if not worse) under the shah, at a time when the majority of the Iranian citizens wanted a better and fairer life for themselves. The Americans and the British were responsible for holding Iran back during the 50s, 60s and 70s. Unfortunately it took religious leaders to kick out the puppet regime and hence the country is in the state that it’s in right now.

      Things may look bad when viewed from the west, but at least the Iranian citizens know the rules in which they have to live by. Back in the 60s you’d simply vanish from the street, never to be heard from again, if you so much as look at the wrong person in the wrong way. All because of oil.

    • zeroskill says:

      @Unaco: You don’t even have to go back 600 years, 100 years will do just fine. However I agree with you absolutely.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      @Unaco

      Perhaps you are right, I hope you are. Thing is, in “todays world”, one would expect the evolution to happen faster and mostly toward the humane values.

      Some even argue that today’s Islam is far more radical than what it was hundred years before. But then, that could be applied to old Christianity too.

      Interesting is, that some cultures tend to like and absorb the good values of Western civ (China) while others tend to hate it as a whole – just as a principle (Islamic states)

    • Ultra Superior says:

      @Wizardry

      It has everything to do with Islamic states. Whenever Islamic state neighbors with a state of another religion – there is a war or a conflict. Don’t lie to yourself.

    • zeroskill says:

      “Interesting is, that some cultures tend to like and absorb the good values of Western civ (China)”

      Oh you mean Human Rights? ….

    • lasikbear says:

      You started talking about Islamic states, contrasted with “Atlantic” states, and then said those that weren’t Atlantic states were “uncivilized, barbarous”. Some straight up Imperialist language through and though.

      Also are you really arguing China just absorbed Western values and everything was nice and neat? Like, there was no issues there?

    • Ultra Superior says:

      @lasikbear @zeroskill
      Of course China absorbs it – slowly, but it does – look at the China 50 years ago and look at it now….

      You can say the same about Russia. Is it all nice and neat there? Far from it, but at least they don’t outright refuse the ‘good values’.

      I never said the rest of the world is savage, I said “the savage rest of the world is on the rise”. (With Western civ economically failing thanks to its poor financial policies and Islamic states demographically booming)

    • Skabooga says:

      @Ultra: Is that white man’s burden you’re carrying as heavy as it looks? :)

    • lasikbear says:

      I was aiming more towards the Opium Wars and imperialism in general being what started brining Western culture into China, but I guess whatever it takes to teach the barbarous other to think right and all that.

      But seriously, if Tom Sawyer ever needs a hand I’ll be sure to call you cause you’re certainly good at whitewashing and painting in broad strokes.

  29. zeroskill says:

    This is just sad on so many levels.

  30. Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

    Now RPS is jumping in with the war time Rah! Rah! Rah! propaganda. It’s infuriating. I’d really like it if RPS would avoid becoming just another rag regurgitating inflammatory drivel based on runours and conjecture. I don’t have a pony in this particular race but really Alec, you need to ask yourself if you want RPS to become exactly like one of those newspapers going on about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and their ties to Al Quida that ended up oozing lies in order to justify a war on shaky moral grounds.

    You, the media need to start showing some restraint and moderation in these times with the world on the brink of another war.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Moderation is good…..

      ….with moderation.

    • Alec Meer says:

      You’re speaking utter bollocks because you want to make a fuss and look clever on the internet. All we’ve done is say that we don’t want a man to be killed. If you disagree with that, you’re hideous.

    • Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

      If the guy is a spy and he knows that the penalty of espionage is death in the country then I’m not too cut up about it to be honest. Of course I don’t know whether he is or isn’t so I’ll reserve judgement but you don’t know either so maybe it would be better to avoid all the anti_iranian sentament and cute and fluffy pictures of him and a little baby. How about you put a picture up of him in his US Army uniform? The entire article is written to paint him as an unjustly accused man and the Iranian government as some sort of evil institution. (Once again I’m reserving judgement on that.)

    • piratmonkey says:

      Maybe it’s because the modern Iranian regime has a history of trumping up charges for people who speak out against them…you know. Just a thought. And I didn’t detect anti-Iranian sentiment but anti-ballsoutfuckingcrazy sentiment instead.

    • Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

      All countries resort to trumped up charges to get their way. See the example of Iraq’s WMD.

      Anyway, all I am asking for is a little restraint and introspection.

    • Unaco says:

      @Wooly Wugga Wugga.

      You are hideous.

    • Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

      @Unaco

      May I ask why?

      My perspective is that given the timing this is an extremely political article. As much as Alec may be trying to pass this off as one man being unjustly accused it is much bigger than this. An article like this is just one more nail into the coffin of thousands of Iranians if the current political climate. When you have game sites posting articles about how evil the Iranian regime is when tensions are running this high you have to start asking questions as to the motives of the site. If ten more people think that attacking Iran is more justified after reading this then that is ten people too many.

    • TheGameSquid says:

      I think Alec is merely pointing out that, y’know, he isn’t a huge fan of the death penalty and that he doesn’t support sentencing on extremely shady grounds. If this was happening in my own country, I’d like to know about this as well. Extra spice is added by the fact that the developing of the video game in question had impact on his sentencing. You see how this might be of interest of a video games journalist?

      He’s making no political claims here. Like him, I’m not claiming that he isn’t guilt of espionage or anything along those lines (neither do we support the games), but it would be nice if he could be tried under circumstances where the possibilities of him receiving a fair trial were larger than they are now, and where the death penalty wasn’t an option.

      Get it?

    • Auspex says:

      @Wooly

      “If the guy is a spy and he knows that the penalty of espionage is death in the country then I’m not too cut up about it to be honest.”

      This is why you are hideous.

    • trigonometryhappy says:

      @wooly, I have a feeling RPS would have written this article, no matter what country was involved. If America interned a games developer and issued the penalty of death on said individual on suspicions of treason, RPS would feel the same way about it I’d say. There is no agenda, they are just against sentencing people to death… as far as I know anyway.

      If Osama developed indie videogames, would RPS have had a similar article? – I hope so. ;)

    • theblazeuk says:

      “anti-ballsoutfuckingcrazy sentiment” should not be expressed through your own ballsoutfuckingcrazy sentiment painting RPS as some propaganda rag. That you’re blind to your own hyperbole is one of the reasons why it’s impossible to see your blase (and not entirely misplaced) acceptance of the possible death of this man.

      It’s possible this guy is a spy – certainly the US + Israel expressly say they are engaged in a ‘covert war’ everytime a serious question about Iran comes up. However it is equally possible and seems more probable that he is a scapegoat, to help drive paranoia and to help make the regime look more effective in fighting this war. I doubt the real spies have anything as easily detectable as a public record of military service and a CV listing lots of pro-US army games….

  31. bahamut says:

    ok.i’m an iranian. i don’t know what to say or how much should i get into it(my internet connection is most probably being logged) .i just want to say that i can’t believe there are so many dumb people in the west i mean do you think that people here like this or other similar things done by our government? no we don’t we are civilised,cultured people our bad luck being the rise to power of these guys. About this i’ll only say that this serves in-state politics purposes, further brainwashing the few millions who would kill other iranians for them ( mostly uneducated and never watched any foreign media(even though satellites are illegal most people still have them).
    But let’s get back to you guys, if someone where to say that the israeli people where barbarians and brutes killing palestinians for land, using unconventional weapons like white phosphorous, purposefuly killing civilians to terrorize them and so on (i believe all of this but i’m am not an anti-semite, i just think they should abide human rights in their war),you’d say they are evil believe me it’s not like that everything is not black or white they are gray…. .just like iran,america and israel some are just whiter than the other.

    • Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

      Dude, with all this warmongering going on (You know it is bad when it hits the gaming media for Christ sake.) I wish you and your family luck and safety in the coming months.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Most young and educated Iranians are open minded, cultured people.

      If Iran had better leadership, it could be the best thing ever to happen for all other Islamic states.

      A strong leader of the Islamic world, one that is reasonable, civilized and one that would – perhaps together with Turkey – change islam to a world-friendly religion.

      Too bad the Ahmajiinezhad is a different story.

    • Caleb367 says:

      That is the most sane post I’ve seen in this comments section. Best of luck to you.

      (‘sides, I find it hilarious some pundit saying that Iran “has a history of making up charges”, especially when coming from countries infamous for making up charges to justify wars or cracking down on protesters. Doubly hilarious when reported by news media already busted for faking news and so trustworthy that, according to them, we’re all retarded ADHD-riddled psycopath junkies for having played GTA) /rant

    • piratmonkey says:

      @Ultra Superior
      Don’t forget Jordan!

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      I think it’s safe to say that many of the people who are describing the Iranian goverment as bat-shit-crazy and/or evil also think the same about the Isreali goverment.

      There is no shortage of bat-shit-crazy and/or evil governments around.

      @Caleb367
      Seriously? You honestly believe anything the Iranian government says? If you don’t trust the media, go ask Amnesty International.

  32. The13thRonin says:

    A few of the comments here disgust me. How about showing a little bit of respect for this mans right to life? Because this is a mans life we’re talking about. A man with a wife and children who very well might die for no good reason. If you can’t understand that then shame on you.

    You don’t get a prize for being an asshole by saying stupid insensitive crap like “Darwinism in action” or “If one of your friends or family members is in the news, do yourself a favour and don’t read comment threads about them”. If you can’t handle being a halfway decent human being then you don’t deserve to have use of the internet.

    I hope this guy gets home to his family safe.

    • Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

      So what happens if through his espionage (Assuming he is a spy.) hundreds or thousands of Iranian civilians are killed in a war he helps to incite?

      If the guy is a spy he knew the risks of what he was doing.

  33. bahamut says:

    @Wooly Wugga Wugga
    Thanks. It’s almost an irony
    America Attacks = We’re fucked
    America doesn’t attack = We’re Still fucked

    • Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

      Apologies if this sounds harsh, but I know things can seem difficult at the moment but a full on shooting war is much worse than anything that is happening at the moment.

      Anyway, you look after yourself and try to be careful what you say online in case you do put yourself in danger.

  34. nizzie says:

    It’s kinda interesting how in both enemies, Iran and the US, there are religious nutjobs sitting in office. Both countries love to execute their criminals and “traitors”. I really hope for him that it’s going to end as for the US “hikers”, who accidently got into Iranian territory a while ago.

    But don’t make the mistake and confuse religion with the real reason for conflict and wars. It’s just a convenient way to sell it to the public.

  35. MythArcana says:

    Just because they’re paranoid doesn’t mean we aren’t after them.

  36. ukpanik says:

    Awwww he’s holding a baby. The next photo will be of him riding a bike to work, because he cares for the environment.

  37. Arglebargle says:

    When elephants fight, it’s the grass that suffers. An African proverb.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      “Some people eat chicken; others fall into the hedge”
      - Arabic Proverb

    • fn8rd says:

      @Ultra: you _do_ realize that Argles proverb had some connection to the article discussed and yours – as far as i can tell – not?

  38. jill says:

    rps allways on the shill tup!

  39. jill says:

    did anyone see the pics of him in civ clothes and body arour

  40. jill says:

    maybe he was tryin to get paid on both sides and TPTB oon both sides said fuck it

  41. Navagon says:

    The Iranian mullahcracy does have a habit of trolling the west then releasing their victim once their real purpose has been served.

    But then it also has a habit of following through on such threats…

    I can’t even imagine the hell his family is going through. I hope that he is returned safely to them soon.

  42. Aron says:

    “trolling the west”, really? This is a man’s life. It’s not just silly immature internet behaviour. Personally, some of the comments on here are disgusting. Twisting this article in order to make it look like western propaganda is truly ridiculous. To be quite frank, a great deal of you are “hideous”.

  43. alundra says:

    Personally, some of the comments on here are disgusting. Twisting this article in order to make it look like western propaganda is truly ridiculous. To be quite frank, a great deal of you are “hideous”.

    Don’t tell me, you are one of those persons who think the western world is righteous and the eastern one is not? Did you see that USofA approved NDAA 2012?? (prolly not, everyone is so busy with SOPA) Effectively legalizing (at least for them) guantamo like actions??

    How is what Iran is doing different from what every president of the US and every prime minister on GB does since the cold war era?

    Self-righteousness (coming from any side) is a truly disgusting thing.

    • Aron says:

      Quite the assumption you make there. However, it is not true. I am not blind enough to believe that the western world is a great benevolent place for all to look up to, what I do believe however is that the death of this man is morally wrong. Both west and east dish out cruelty, I did not say that the west is a loving society and it has never nor will ever do any wrong, I simply stated that this is unnecessary and that you should feel sorry for this man rather than bring up completely unnecessary topics that have no right to be shared here. We were discussing the wrongdoing to this man, propaganda in the west should not of even been brought up. If you cannot reply with factual statements rather than assumptions then please refrain from writing in response to my messages, thank you sir.

  44. GT3000 says:

    A lot of you guys like to be armchair strategists to a region of the world you glean information from narrowly focused points. This is isn’t the first time Iran has displayed this type of behavior and sadly, this appears far more political than anything significant. Frankly I’m surprised that a former Marine has the absent-mindedness to tread into a country deemed unsafe by the State Department. That said, I hope for his safe and unharmed release but assuming that’s the case it’ll be a long time coming.

  45. Jimmy says:

    It is frankly, a very strange case, and this person seems the least likeliest person to be a spy if he has raised his head above the parapets by association with military assasination replay games. It makes little sense that he would visit Iran given his past tour in Iraq, yet folly it would be to send someone that raises eyebrows for espionage. Iran have released other American and British citizens after a while in the media but there will be need to be significant pressure and backdoor diplomacy to extract this Iranian-American.

    As for the comments in this thread, I don’t see anything wrong in having a debate on Iranian-American relations and geopolitics. Few people wish for him to be sentenced, but debating on the context is hardly off-topic. That said, RPS is not the obvious place for that, and the humorous comments reflect that. RPS is, after all, primarily about an entertainment medium.

  46. Reefpirate says:

    I am no fan of American hypocrisy, especially in their foreign policy. HOWEVER, this is terrible news because an innocent man’s life is on the line.

    To those who think we shouldn’t be concerned about one American life, I would like you to ponder the hypocrisy of your own statements. If 100,000 Iraqi lives are meaningful, then so is this guy’s.

    Also, to those who wonder why RPS doesn’t cover other horrible atrocities in the world: Wake up, you dumbasses… THIS WEBSITE IS ABOUT PC GAMING, THIS MAN IS RELATED TO THE PC GAMING INDUSTRY, HOLY FUCKING SHIT IS THAT SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND? RPS does not publish the daily news on world politics. Sorry for the caps.

  47. Zelius says:

    This is awful news. But I have to day though, it doesn’t seem like such a great idea to go back to Iran after making these games, given their history.

    It wasn’t a question of if he was going to be arrested, but when.

  48. Chorltonwheelie says:

    I imagine it’s a desperate attempt by Iran to keep it’s coveted spot as No. 2 Worlds Worst Judicial Murderer.

    No matter how many mentally disabled black kids the USA injects, grills or gasses it just can’t seem to lift itself higher than No. 5 Worlds Worst Judicial Murderer.

    Must try harder Christian countries. The Muslims and Atheists are still winning (’bout 20 more though and you’ll beat the Saudis ).

  49. MeatW4d says:

    Thank you for posting this story. I have been reading about it for a few days now and your article has provided me with more information than all of the major news sites. For instance, I didn’t even know that he was a Developer for Kuma or that he actually did receive espionage training. All of that is vital information to the story that was, for some reason, left out by CNN and The AP. I also couldn’t find anything about his confession besides that it aired on TV. So, thanks for posting a link to that also.

    I just recently started to visit RPS and I am really liking it. It is articles like this that make me come back 3 or 4 times a day. Keep up the good work and thanks again for this great journalism.

  50. Voon says:

    Ehh, scratch that. I just hate the idea of governments, regardless of which, exploiting individuals to do something ridiculous for their own gain. And this is disgusting.