It was recently reported that the United States arranged for the release of billions of dollars in frozen Iranian assets and the release of some Iranian terrorists inside American jails in exchange for Iran freeing five Americans that they had taken hostage. While the Biden administration has attempted to reassure Americans that the money will only be used to address the humanitarian needs of the Iranian people, the Iranians have more or less stated in response that they, and not President Joe Biden, will determine what will happen to those billions.
Three of the Americans who will be released in the deal have been identified as Siamek Namazi, an Iranian-American businessman who has been imprisoned since 2015, making him the Iranian-American who has spent the most time in an Iranian jail; Iranian-American businessman Emad Shargi, who has been falsely accused of spying; and Morad Tahbaz, a British-American conservationist of Iranian descent, who was caught in the midst of environmental protests and sentenced to 10 years in jail.
As the deal advances, the five hostages have been released from prison and moved to house arrest, although the Iranians refuse to let them leave Iran until all of the money is transferred. Many have been critical of this deal, claiming that it will do nothing more than encourage more Iranian terrorism. In fact, Mohsen Rezaie, the former Commander-in-Chief of the IRGC and Vice President of Iran for Economic Affairs, recently stated, “If the United States is thinking of attacking Iran, let them be sure we will take 1,000 Americans hostage in the first week and will ask for billions of dollars for their release. And this is how our economic problems will be resolved.”
Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once stated, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” Former Israeli Communication Minister Ayoob Kara concurred with this sentiment: “I learned from my military career that appeasement to terror groups never works. In Lebanon, I fought against terrorism that was remarkably like Hamas.” For this reason, Kara knows that the only way to fight against terrorism is to stand strong, not back down.
Prominent lawyer Alan Dershowitz wrote in Why Terrorism Works that if one seeks to deter terrorism, one must ensure that the terrorist understands that he has more to lose than gain by engaging in terrorist acts. Thus, Kara emphasized that if we want to stop Iran from taking hostages, then we must make sure that Iran understands the detrimental cost of doing so. Otherwise, “they will wage war and occupy other states, like they did already in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Libya, etc. They destroy all of the states they can. They use all of their money to support this terror.”
But this particular hostage deal does the opposite of that. As Dr. Mordechai Kedar stated, “Time and again, I am amazed with the Americans, who have not yet learned how to deal with the Iranians. The Iranians only understand one thing, a credible threat. The United States had to speak with the Iranians with just logic. They needed tell to them they had one or two days to do this and that, or otherwise you will bear the consequences and that will be devastating for you. This is the only way to convince them to do something they do not like. Whoever directs this threat against them should be prepared to implement the threat. This is the only way to deal with the Iranians and get them to comply. Neither the Americans nor Europeans nor anyone else in the world knows how to speak to them and convince them in the only way that they understand.”
As Kedar recalled, “Right after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iran halted their nuclear program for three years, fearing they would be next. But after they saw how the Americans suffered a lot during the insurgency in Iraq, and that the Americans did not punish the Iranians for their role in it, they continued their nuclear program, reassured that the Americans would do nothing. [Former US President George W.] Bush had all the information, knew the Iranians took an active part in the insurgency, and yet did nothing. We are paying the price for that to this day.” This shows that a credible threat and not appeasement is what was needed to deal with the fact that the Iranians were holding five Americans hostage, but the Biden administration failed to do that.
Iranian political theorist Dr. Reza Parchizadeh concurred: “By making the greatest state sponsor of terrorism flush with cash, Joe Biden has taken a leaf out of Barack Obama’s book. Even the real figure that Tehran will recover is uncertain. While the Biden administration announced it to be $6 billion, Al Arabiya sources put it at $10 billion. Some media outlets in Iran claim the figure is actually $20 billion.”
He continued: “Whatever the case, giving in to a rogue regime’s attempts at getting ransom will only prove it right in its wicked ways and embolden it to take even more hostages in the future. So, I can say with certainty that we haven’t seen the last of the criminal regime’s taking Americans hostage. At the same time, the American people, whose government is giving huge sums to a hostile regime, and the Iranian people, who are the rightful owners of that money, have a moral right to know how those billions of dollars are going to be spent. Based on long-term observation, I can surmise that a share of the money will be used to boost the regime’s security-military apparatus to suppress popular protests, which are especially likely to flare up soon at the anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s murder by the religious police last September, which started the nationwide anti-hijab protests and eventually turned a full throttle anti-regime revolution.”
Dr. Parchizadeh also believes that this money will go to advancing Iran’s nuclear program, as well as its missile and drone technologies that “are used against the US and its allies around the world. Last but not least, a portion of the released money will go toward financing the pro-Iranian regime non-state terrorist actors across the Middle East such as Hezbollah, Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, the Houthis and the Iraqi Shiite paramilitary groups. All in all, the ransom that the White House has given to the regime in Iran will sponsor all sorts of activities that undermine the national security and global standing of the United States.”
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