Everything Iran Really Got For Hostages
We are all overjoyed that 5 American hostages have, finally, been released by the Iranian government. Nothing should take away from the relief and happiness that their families are feeling right now.
Those emotions are making headlines. Not making headlines is what really happened under the name “prisoner swap” today. The truth is frightening!
Let’s quickly note that we should never have had to negotiate to get back our citizens. Their freedom should have been a prerequisite for lifting even a single sanction against Iran. Instead, our administration has hammered home the idea that kidnapped Americans = a deal in the kidnappers’ favor.
This situation, in the words of Presidential candidate Marco Rubio, “has created an incentive for more governments to do this around the world.” Amen, Senator!
Now that the deal has been done, however, it is important that the American public know exactly what was handed over today.
a) The United States government granted clemency to 7 Iranian inmates charged with violations of sanctions or trade restrictions. They are Nader Modanlou, Bahram Mechanic, Khosrow Afqahi, Arash Ghahreman, Touraj Faridi, Nima Golestaneh, and Ali Sabounchi.
Golestaneh is an Iranian student who plead guilty to hacking into the system of an aerodynamics company in Vermont to steal valuable software.
b) The U.S. agreed to remove the names of 14 Iranians it has been pursuing from the Interpol watch list. Those names are not, yet, available.
The charges against them are mostly sanctions violation. They include arms trafficking and a shipment of parts for use in Iran’s nuclear program.
c) Iran got to keep Siamak Namazi. He is an oil industry executive who has been accused of espionage.
According to one U.S. official “This is a one-time arrangement. It’s not a precedent for the future.”
That statement would be more believable if this were the 1st time the Obama administration has swapped prisoners with Iran.
In 2009 three American hikers were arrested and charged with espionage by Iranian security forces. They were later freed in exchange for 4 Iranian prisoners convicted of export violations. Iran also received $500,000 for each of the Americans from the government of Oman which aided in bringing about the swap.
It is unarguably wonderful that the 5 American men being held as hostages are now going to return home. For their sakes, and ours, let’s pray that it remains the America that they have pined for so long.
Now that Iran has no sanctions blocking their development and $150 billion to fund their anti-American regime, thanks to the Obama nuclear deal, it may take a miracle.
© 2016 Vianna Vaughan