By Iran Probe staff
Terrorism and hostage taking for ransom are two clear components of Iranian regime’s foreign policy, since the very first days of Khomeini’s rule. It has once again come to the focus of the world media after the exchange of 5 dual-national hostages for a ransom of 6 billion dollars from Iran’s blocked funds.
Raisi and the foes in his government have tried to make this hostage-taking look as if it is decent and legal. His foreign minister has insolently called this inhuman extortion and gambling with people’ lives a “humanist issue”, ( Amirabdollahian’s interview with the Iranian newspaper, Entekhab, 7 August) . Many around the world, however, have reacted to it with disgust and hatred to the mullahs’ hostage taking which has now become a profitable industry.
Surrendering to this blackmail has also created a political storm In United States. Opponents consider paying ransom to the mullahs’ regime as encouraging terrorists to extort money by taking hostages. Breitbart News site wrote (August 20), “GOP Slams Biden for ‘Bowing’ to Ayatollahs” ‘Endangering’ Americans with ‘Reckless’ $6B Iran Deal”.
Former Vice President Mike Pence criticized a prisoner swap with Iran as “the largest ransom payment in American history.”
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized a possible Biden administration prisoner exchange deal with Iran, as “It’s really dangerous,”
“You now have a situation where we have told the Iranians, ‘For every American you take, the Biden administration will provide you with $1 billion,” Pompeo said to the reporters.
Former US national security adviser, John Bolton, commented, “ I think the immediate consequence , obviously, will be unfreezing of billions of Dollars of Iranian assets which will go back under their control , with their discretion to spend it on their nuclear program, their support for international terrorism in the Middle East and beyond,”
Senator Steve Deans, chairman of the Republican Senate Committee, noted, “Ransom payments to the Iranian regime “puts a price on the head of every American abroad”. A tweet by Senator Jim Risch reads,” unfreezing $6B in Iranian assets dangerously further incentivizes hostage taking & provides a windfall for regime aggression,” Sen. Tom Cotton called the deal “ransom” and stated, “This illusive act of appeasement will only allow the mullahs to take more hostages.”
Khamenei’s propaganda apparatus is trying to make this act of blackmail and hostage taking look like glorious achievements, and their media refer to it with ridiculous titles such as “honorable diplomacy”. Nevertheless, this scandalous deal has intensified the discord within the regime as well.
One of the diplomats of the regime mocked the agreement and called it an “honorable surrender”. The other wrote,” so called Raili’s achievement, really so weak and humiliated”. Former head of the central bank tweeted, “Why did it take so long? After 3 years of imposing costs, you reached the same point as when we started”
Meanwhile, the regime’s bargaining to receive the money of this disgraceful extortion imposed an indefinite period of “house arrest” on the hostages, as the lawyer of one of the prisoners, says, “There is no guarantee about what will happen from here on. ” (CNN, August 19).