Christian Science Monitor:

TEHRAN AND VIENNA — Iran will release four detained Americans in exchange for seven Iranians held or charged in the United States, U.S. and Iranian officials said Saturday in a major diplomatic breakthrough announced as implementation of a landmark nuclear deal appeared imminent. A fifth American detained in Iran, a student, was released in a move unrelated to the swap, U.S. officials said.

Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, pastor Saeed Abedini and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, whose name had not been previously made public, were to be flown from Iran to Switzerland aboard a Swiss aircraft and then transported to a U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, for medical treatment, U.S. officials said.

Rezaian’s wife and mother were expected to be on the plane.

This breakthrough is indeed good news. It is time for Iran to start behaving itself and stop acting like a rogue terrorist nation.

Good for Team America for implementing the release of these captives.    Hopefully their health is good and their homecoming uneventful.

Sometimes these international issues take diplomacy.  Too many people often want to throw on their proverbial “sh!t-kicker” boots and go barging in, risking the safety of the very people they want to rescue.

22 thoughts on “WaPo reporter Jason Rezaian released and headed home

  1. Cargosquid

    “It is time for Iran to start behaving itself and stop acting like a rogue terrorist nation.”

    If they were going to do that, they would not have held the hostages to begin with.

    I’m glad that they are released.

    It’s amazing how they respond when Obama gives them everything that they ask for.

  2. Kelly_3406

    Hmmmm. Not to parrot Trump, but the release of 7 Iranians and $150 billion in exchange for 4 American prisoners. What a great deal.

    I am sure this agreement with Iran will be just as successful as Obama’s other foreign policy initiatives in the Middle East.

    Let’s see how well Hezbollah is funded in the coming years. $150 billion will buy a lot of rockets and explosives.

  3. Starryflights

    Diplomacy is effective and much more efficient in terms of blood and treasure than war.

    1. Agreed, Starry. It doesn’t always work but it sure is better than blood-shed.

  4. Starryflights

    The United States is not giving Iran $150 billion.@Kelly_3406

  5. Scout

    Kelly – I think the $150 billion was related to the nuclear deal.

  6. Kelly_3406

    @Scout

    You’re right, but I think it’s all inter-related.

    Diplomacy can be effective and more efficient than war, but not if it crosses into appeasement. Remember that Chamberlain was initially viewed as a hero as he proclaimed “peace in our time” in 1938 shortly before WWII claimed 60 million lives. If diplomacy emboldens the foe, then it can lead to greater loss of life than if the aggression had been addressed early on.

    Those of us who know better are happy that the captives are back, but are extremely concerned about the consequences.

    1. Chamberlain thought he was doing the right thing, as it everyone else. I think he has historically gotten a raw deal. It isn’t his fault Hitler was a liar.

  7. Pat.Herve

    After complaining about having a say about the Nuke deal – Congress failed to even vote on it. Something that they postured about and did not follow through.

    Iran claims to have removed the nuke core from the Arak Reactor – if true, this is progress. It is a good thing.

    The amount of money released to Iran is closer to $100 Billion, and is their money, it is not our money. Iran owes China around $50 billion. Leaving $50 Billion that Iran will probably (hopefully) invest in their own economy. They have already signed to purchase 114 airbus jets.

    I am not happy that Iran had these 5 as prisoner, but they were in Iran. One has to expect some sort of personal responsibility if they are in Iran. Two of them had to told by the Iranians to never step foot on Iranian soil again, yet they went back.

    How do we get them back without some sort of negotiations? I the swap the best thing, no, but it has been done throughout history. Thinking Iran was just going to release these prisoners with nothing is return is living in a fallacy world.

    The Reagan administration sold arms to Iran (in order to have prisoners in Lebanon released), Carter negotiated with them. Bush II removed their biggest adversary in the region and allowed them to focus on other things rather than fighting Iraq. In 1989 we released $567 Million (not the first nor last time) of their funds to Iran. So, all the puffery is just that, puffery.

  8. Scout

    A lot of current historical analysis, Kelly, gives Chamberlain better marks than conventional post- WWII history bestowed. Britain was not prepared for war, Chamberlain knew it. There have been a number of close recent examinations of internal British analysis from the 1937-38 period which indicate that at least some audible voices within HMG had a pretty clear idea that Hitler was up to no good and could not be trusted, but also thought that it was critical that war be avoided in 1938. Chamberlain bought time, albeit at a horrific price with regard to the fate of the Czechs. But the RAF (which proved pivotal in the summer of 1940)was a far more formidable a fighting force in 1939-40 than it had been in the previous year or two.

    The prisoner swap thing is always a complicated matter. The general US line has been that we don’t bargain for hostages. The reasoning, which seems to me to be impossible to refute, is that to bargain encourages the next round of hostage-taking. On the other hand, we have an ethic in our military that we will do all we can to get you back (hence the Bergdahl situation), and our civilians wrongly held should probably know that the same is true for them. It will be interesting to get details of the released Iranians. If these were just avaricious businessmen who crossed sanctions lines, and/or people whose terms were almost expired in any event, it’s hard to fault the Adminstration for letting them go in return for the Americans. If, however, they were violent criminals or persons engaged in direct support of terrorists, then we have another story. I’m willing to wait to see how that all plays out.

  9. Wolve

    Does anyone here seriously believe that Iran will now stop “acting like a rogue terrorist nation”? If they do believe that, I have a very nice equestrian statue of Stonewall Jackson located near Manassas for sale at a very cheap price.

    Personally I’ll wait to see whether this nuclear treaty with Iran is worth the paper it is written on. I recall another POTUS telling us that his administration had successfully negotiated the end of the pursuit of nuclear weapons by another rogue nation. That didn’t quite work out as planned. I won’t mention the name of that POTUS lest I be accused of political hate.

  10. Wolve

    And so it goes on. The media is reporting that three American contractors (one American; two American-Iraqi) have been missing in Iraq for two days. They allegedly were taken from their apartment in the Dora neighborhood of Baghdad by a group of gunmen and driven off somewhere in a vehicle convoy.

    Stay tuned.

    Meanwhile, R.I.P. to the American missionary/orphanage operator killed by jihadists in Ouagadougou, as well as to the Canadians, French, and other victims. And prayers for the Australian doctor and spouse kidnapped by jihadists at their clinic/hospital on the Burkina Faso/Mali border. People doing good for mankind laid low once again by evil.

  11. Kelly_3406

    Moon-howler :
    Chamberlain thought he was doing the right thing, as it everyone else. I think he has historically gotten a raw deal. It isn’t his fault Hitler was a liar.

    Is that going to be the defense for Obama when Iran takes a fresh batch of prisoners and explodes a nuclear bomb? Obama thought he was doing the right thing. It isn’t his fault that the Iranians will prove to be liars, right?

    On the contrary. As Pat pointed out, previous presidents have made concessions to the Iranians. The result was that they became even more hostile. Obama is ignoring the deceitful, brutal history of the Iranian regime.

  12. Scout

    There isn’t one Iranian government. The Administration is betting that it can promote the more moderate elements (or that they will gain ascendancy on their own) and gradually decrease the control of the more radical clerics and the Revolutionary Guards. I doubt anyone has any confidence in how that will all play out. It probably won’t be a linear progression even if it goes the right way (I fully expect, near term, some very aggressive actions in the region by the militant faction to show that they have not been eclipsed).

    The February elections in Iran may provide a few more interesting tea leaves to read, even if they don’t evidence clear gains by either side.

  13. Pat.Herve

    Where would the world be if the US did not speak to the Russians or the Chinese? At some point, after ostracizing the enemy, one needs to bring them back into the fold and try to get them to come around. We can see with Cuba – 50 years of isolation did nothing to change the mind of Castro.

    I think the thaw with Russia was more of a risk than a thaw with Iran. Russia, still to this day, does provoke Terrorism – the Tsarnaev brothers were Chechen, yet we still talk and trade with them. Should we try and isolate them again, how did that work out?

  14. Kelly_3406

    @Pat.Herve

    There is a lot of ground between not talking at all and making an agreement that gives in on the major issues. And there is a huge difference between ‘trust but verify’ and ‘trust and hope’. On both counts, the current agreement with Iran is much closer to the latter ends of the spectrum.

  15. Kelly_3406

    Scout :
    A lot of current historical analysis, Kelly, gives Chamberlain better marks than conventional post- WWII history bestowed. Britain was not prepared for war, Chamberlain knew it.

    Could you please provide a reference to a current historical analysis that gives Chamberlain better marks for buying time for Great Britain to prepare for war?

  16. Kelly_3406

    Pat.Herve :
    I think the thaw with Russia was more of a risk than a thaw with Iran. Russia, still to this day, does provoke Terrorism – the Tsarnaev brothers were Chechen, yet we still talk and trade with them. Should we try and isolate them again, how did that work out?

    The Russians warned the FBI that the Tsarnaev brothers were a threat.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-explosions-boston-congress-idUSBREA2P02Q20140326

  17. Pat.Herve

    Kelly_3406 :

    Pat.Herve :
    I think the thaw with Russia was more of a risk than a thaw with Iran. Russia, still to this day, does provoke Terrorism – the Tsarnaev brothers were Chechen, yet we still talk and trade with them. Should we try and isolate them again, how did that work out?

    The Russians warned the FBI that the Tsarnaev brothers were a threat.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-explosions-boston-congress-idUSBREA2P02Q20140326

    Yes, they did and we failed to follow through. I wonder why the Russians reported them to the US – is it because they were terrorists against Russian forces vs Russian sponsored terrorists against the regimes, perhaps?

  18. Scout

    @ Kelly – I’m sure there are a lot of references, but I went downstairs to my own library, and pulled out Telford Taylor’s “Munich – The Price of Peace”. It’s thorough and balanced. It runs over 1,000 pages, but if you want to cut to the chase, there is an epilogue that starts on page 978. Many points could be made, but one which sticks with me is that Munich can’t be viewed in isolation – it has to be seen as one of many moving parts in European events extending back as much as eight previous years. Taylor also makes the point that “Britain, the lynchpin of any effort to ‘stop’ Hitler by military means, was incapable of self-defense, let alone aid to her allies, in 1938, and had to buy more time to rearm. In the French phrase, the necessary strategy was reculer pour mieux sauter. This is not, of course, an argument that Munich was intrinsically ‘good,’ but that the alternative were worse, and therefore Munich was “right as a necessary expedient.”

    To be precise, that last quote does not accurately reflect Professor Taylor’s very nuanced and complex view of the situation, a view that is not uncritical of Chamberlain and his government. Taylor points out that the Royal Navy was in relative sound condition in 1938 – it was the Army and RAF that needed time. Telford Taylor quotes the great historian A.J.P. Taylor (no relation, and, as an aside, a major staple of my younger days’ training as an aspiring Foreign Service Officer) as describing Munich as “the best that could be once in almost impossible circumstances.” Sir John Wheeler-Bennett said “. . . because of sins of omission between 1933 and 1937 [under the leadership of Stanley Baldwin and Ramsay McDonald], Britain was forced to other sins of commission in 1938; because she was too weak to do otherwise, she was compelled to condone chicanery, aggression and injustice and to become an accessory to these outrages.” That probably sums up a nasty business rather tidily.

  19. El Guapo

    An interview with journalist Jason Rezaian is featured in a recent episode of Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown. This interview took place a few weeks before he was detained. The guy’s wife also participates in the interview. If anyone is interested. Also in the episode Bourdain visits a few restaurants and homes in Tehran and makes a trek two hundred miles south to visit Isfahan. It gives a glimpse into the lives of regular Iranian folk and how they feel and their opinions, not just the government.

    From the handful of people I’ve met in ESL class, Iranians are extremely cool people given the behavior of their government.

    1. Definitely something to think about before we put on our sh!t-kickers and head out to nuke the Iranians. Too many people are too willing to take our our aggressions against evil governments out on the people of a country, who often have little or no control over who their leaders are.

Comments are closed.