It is, of course, great news to hear that Americans held hostage by Iran– and that’s what they were, held hostage — are being released to come home.
As the New York Times and several other news outlets are reporting:
Iran announced Saturday that its judiciary had freed four Iranian-American nationals as part of a prisoner swap with the United States. Iranian media reports said the Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian was among those freed.
It was not immediately clear who else was released or who among Iranian prisoners in the United States had been released in exchange.
The announcement was timed to coincide with the expected lifting of some Western sanctions on Iran, the most important stage of the nuclear agreement reached in July between Iran and major powers including the United States.
But just as with the “release” of Bowe Bergdahl, there’s always the “rest of the story.”
As The Washington Post reports, hostages still remain in the hands of the Iranians:
Not included in the deal was Siamak Namazi, a Dubai-based oil company executive who had promoted closer U.S.-Iranian ties. He was arrested in October while visiting a friend in Tehran. In addition, the fate of former FBI agent Robert Levinson,who disappeared in March 2007 during a visit to Iran’s Kish Island, remains unknown.
At least three of the four Americans released — Amir Hekmati, Pastor Saeed Abedini, Jason Rezaian — were illegally held on trumped-up charges by the militant Islamic regime of Iran. (Less is known yet about the fourth released today, Nosratollah Khosavi-Roodsari, whose detention was not previously publicized.) They were, in essence, used as bargaining chips. There are reports emanating from sources such as Reuters that America is releasing some six to seven Iranians guilty of crimes — not the insidious charges of espionage Iran used against our citizens.
Furthermore, one just has to ask, how did the recent episode with our Sailors, who were publicly humiliated by the Iranians, come into play here? What can be surmised by all of this is Iran is about to be portrayed as a regional hegemony that has brought America to its knees. And in the meantime, also receiving tens of billions of dollars in unfrozen assets. All of this is occurring as Iran looks to flood the international market with its oil resources, adding to the plunging oil prices that are having an adverse effect on our industry and market.
Just to put this all into a broader strategic perspective, the Obama administration has recently released some 13 unlawful enemy combatants from GITMO. Part of that release was the shipping of weapons systems, such as TOW II missiles, to Oman. Quite sure we may be on the receiving end of those missiles in the future. And we know Iran’s belligerence to our Sailors was dismissed by John Kerry, who stated Iran doesn’t have to abide by the Geneva Convention since they are “not at war” with us. Depends on what your definition of is, is. Then again, what difference at this point does it make?
There is one good thing, at least we are not getting back a deserter.