Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Iranian Hostage-Taking is Old News and that's the Problem
By Alan Caruba
Am I the only one who thinks it is absolutely bizarre that America, Great Britain, and the rest of the world views the Islamic Republic of Iran’s history of hostage-taking as just another problem to be dealt with by diplomats?
Kidnapping is one of the worst crimes committed in any society, but the Iranians do it with impunity. The latest news concerns the release of Sarah Shourd, one of three Americans along with Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, who we’re told strayed too close to the Iranian border while hiking. The two men are still being held.
Still unaccounted for is Robert Levinson, an American who disappeared in Iran in 2007. In the September 14 edition of The Wall Street Journal, his daughter had a letter published. “My father was in Kish Island, Iran, on private business when he disappeared without a trace on March 9, 2007.” She noted that Press TV, an Iranian media outlet reported that he was “in the hands of Iranian security forces.” Sarah Lawrence is planning her wedding and her letter pled with the government of Iran “to do everything possible to find my father and send him home to me, my mother, and my six brothers and sisters.”
American relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran were determined on November 4, 1979 when 66 of our diplomats and embassy personnel were taken hostage. They were held for 444 days until the hour that Ronald Reagan took the oath of office for the first time.
Name a nation other than North Korea that routinely takes foreigners hostage. There simply could not be any comity between nations if hostage-taking was the rule instead of the exception. The taking of U.S. diplomats in 1979 broke centuries of tradition in which even ancient cultures understood that diplomats are engaged in missions determining issues too important to permit them to be imprisoned or killed.
The expression, “Do not kill the messenger” comes from this tradition.
What does this tell us about the ayatollahs running Iran? It brands them as little more than common gangsters, blackmailers, and thugs.
It was not for nothing that former President George W. Bush included Iran, along with Iraq and North Korea in his “Axis of Evil.” Such bold, clear identification of criminal nations was refreshing at the time and remains so today.
It comes as no surprise that Iran’s Intelligence Minister, Heydar Moslehi, recently told reporters that the three U.S. hostages are spies even though no charges have been brought against them since last July. Instead, Moslehi and other Iranian officials have let it be known that that there are eleven Iranians in custody in the United States and other nations that they want released.
Last September, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly suggested that the three Americans could be released for Iranians currently held in Iraq, members of the Revolutionary Guards who were captured while posing as “diplomats.”
The United Nations Security Council Resolution 579 was adopted unanimously on December 18, 1985, in a meeting called by the United States. The Council expressed its deep concern at the prevalance in incidents of hostage-taking, primarily by Iran, knowing that this thuggish behavior has grave consequences for the international community and relations between states.
Except for the formalities, Iran has been at war with the United States since the day it took our diplomats hostage in 1979.
The UN Security Council resolution asked member states that were not party to the International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages to participate. The resolution identified hostage-taking as "manifestations of international terrorism."
Iran is the epicenter of international terrorism these days and has been for years. It is the sponsor of two internationally recognized terror organizations, Hezbollah and Hamas, and has had its hand covertly involved in countless acts of terror. It is widely believe that Iran is playing host to Osama bin Laden as it is known his family has been given sanctuary there.
And now Iran moves relentlessly toward acquiring nuclear weapons. There can be no good end to this scenario and it must be one that initiates the destruction of the leadership of Iran and its nuclear potential.
© Alan Caruba, 2010