By now, Americans paying attention to such things probably imagine they know all there is to know about the most recent Obama debacle: the swap of four-five America hostages for many more Iranian terrorists. Get a few Americans, even though more remain unaccounted for, give Iran 150 billion or so, and hey, it’s a great deal! Secretary Of State John Kerry said so, and he profusely thanked the Iranians for being such swell guys. Unfortunately, as is always the case with Barack Obama, it’s far worse that we imagined. Via Hot Air.com:
How can you tell if your new partners in an agreement can be trusted? One hint — if they try to kidnap some of your citizens as part of a prisoner swap, don’t expect them to be too eager to meet other milestones in the deal. The New York Times’ Peter Baker offers a gripping account of the Iranian attempt to seize Jason Rezaian’s family and keep them in Iran even as the US concluded the exchange that set the Washington Post reporter free:
Three of the freed Americans were to leave Iran on a plane operated by the Swiss, who had helped broker the prisoner talks and who represent American interests in Tehran, where there is no United States embassy. A fourth had already left on a commercial flight, and a fifth, who lived in Tehran, had chosen to stay.
But as Mr. Rezaian and the other two prisoners, Amir Hekmati and Saeed Abedini, were preparing to leave, no one could find Mr. Rezaian’s wife, Yeganeh Salehi, or his mother, Mary. Ms. Salehi, an Iranian journalist, hadbeen arrested with Mr. Rezaian in July 2014 before being released, and his mother had gone to Iran to be closer to her imprisoned son.
‘They had disappeared,’ said an American official, who along with others described the events on the condition of anonymity. ‘Nobody could find them, and they were not answering phones. The Iranians then said there were legal issues that would prevent either from leaving the country.’’
Iranian officials tried to persuade the Americans and the Swiss to take the three prisoners and leave without Ms. Salehi or Ms. Rezaian. In Geneva, Brett McGurk, the lead American negotiator, refused, saying the deal had always included Mr. Rezaian’s family.
To get Rezaian’s two family members onto the plane, it took John Kerry demanding Iranian foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif to comply with the terms of the exchange. Even then, the Iranians continued to play hide-and-seek with Rezaian’s wife and mother. Three times they attempted to restrain the women and refuse to allow them to board the plane, creating a standoff that lasted for hours at the airport. Finally, after numerous attempts to welch on the deal, the Iranians allowed the two women to board the plane.
This puts rather a different complexion on John Kerry’s fawning gratitude toward the Iranians, doesn’t it? After having to argue against their bad faith and double-dealing to keep them from taking two more hostages, he profusely thanked them. It’s a wonder they haven’t taken him hostage yet. If they did, we’d no doubt be subjected to his blathering about what wonderful progress he was making in his hostage talks, and how it would make the world safer. Come to think of it, having Kerry as a hostage in Iran might help make the world safer.
Many have observed that the hostage deal sets an extraordinarily bad precedent: it encourages rogue regimes to take American hostages, certain in the knowledge they’ll be able to extort whatever they want from American officials only too happy to give it to them. The Iranians certainly don’t need that kind of encouragement. They’ve employed hostage taking as a fundamental part of their foreign policy since 1979, and as this bizarre incident reveals, they’ll do it again, in fact, they’re still holding American hostages.
Consider this from Michael Totten at worldaffairsjournal:
A fair swap would have been three innocent prisoners for three innocent prisoners, but the United States doesn’t randomly grab foreign nationals off the streets to use as bargaining chips, so that was never an option.
If the Iranian government had released innocent people because they’re innocent like it’s supposed to—then we could say we had a good day. But that’s not what happened. That’s not even close to what happened.
It could have been worse, though. Secretary of State John Kerry said he thought he’d secured these peoples’ release months ago, but the deal fell apart because the Iranian government wanted the United States to release convicted murderers.
I’m amazed the release of convicted murderers caused Kerry and Obama even a moment’s pause. They’re releasing terrorist murderers from Gitmo on a regular basis. Perhaps they thought they wouldn’t be able to do that sufficiently under the radar.
Iran committed three criminal acts against American citizens and paid no price. We put kidnappers in prison for a very long time in this country, but the Iranian government was rewarded.
What’s to stop that government from doing it again?
Why should the Iranian government stop? Kidnapping and ransoming hostages works. And the regime is already gearing up to do it again.
In October of last year they grabbed Siamak Namazi, one of the founders of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). He’s still being held hostage despite the prisoner swap.
NIAC lobbied hard for the nuclear deal signed earlier by Washington and Tehran. Its principle founder and president Trita Parsi has been fighting even longer—since 1997—to have sanctions against Iran lifted.
One of those guys is Iran’s current hostage. Not some CIA spook. Not a wannabe revolutionary. Not even a crusading journalist. No. The regime’s current hostage is a man who worked for years to normalize relations with Iran.
Oh yeah. These are our partners for stability in the Middle East. These are the lunatics Mr. Obama prefers over Israel and our other allies. These are the guys Mr. Obama thinks ought to dominate the region. Why, in the last month or so they demonstrated their reliability and good intentions by testing long range missiles in violation of the nuclear deal, they shot off several offensive rockets near one of our aircraft carriers, and they illegally seized and held our sailors.
No wonder Mr. Obama is so eager to trust them, and Mr. Kerry is so grateful to them: the Iranians don’t like America any more than Obama and Kerry do.