Iran Hostage Crisis — Deja Vu
Nine days later Iran is defiantly holding 15 British sailors and marines hostage. Iran said the Revolutionary Guards arrested the crews of two boats from HMS Cornwall after they trespassed into their waters. The Royal Navy has shown photographic proof that the boats were operating in Iraqi waters. This standoff is eerily similar to the original Iran Hostage Crisis of 1979. The American hostages were held for 444 days and led to President Jimmy Carter (thankfully) loosing his re-election bid to Ronald Reagan. These events are 28 years apart, but there is one major similarity; President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
American hostage in Tehran, 1979, with Ahmadinejad
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, 2007
Ahmadinejad has been ratcheting up the rhetoric, the threats and the insanity for some time now. This latest smoke and mirrors stunt is once again designed to distract the world from the real issue of his developing nuclear weapons. The longer this crisis goes on the closer he gets.
Flashback to 1979: President Jimmy Carter applied economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran: oil imports from Iran were ended on November 12, 1979, and through the issuance of Executive Order 12170, around USD 8 billion of Iranian assets in the U.S. were frozen by the Office of Foreign Assets Control on November 14, 1979. Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Khomeini and Iran didn’t even blink. This is the same failed approach that the United Nations is taking on Iran’s nuclear program.
Prime Minister Tony Blair has said that that Great Britain will not negotiate and I wonder how Maggie Thatcher would have reacted. When Argentina invaded the British Falkland Islands in April of 1982, she immediately launched a Naval task force resulting in Argentina surrendering in June.
In comparison, in the days before Reagan took office, Algerian diplomat Abdulkarim Ghuraib, opened negotiations between the U.S. and Iran. This resulted in the “Algiers Accords” of January 19, 1981, which entailed Iran’s commitment to free the hostages immediately with Jimmy Carter agreeing to this important clause: “The United States pledges that it is and from now on will be the policy of the United States not to intervene, directly or indirectly, politically or militarily, in Iran’s internal affairs.” Other provisions of the Algiers Accords were the unfreezing of $8 billion of Iranian assets and immunity from lawsuits Iran might have faced.
Let this be a warning to all those Democrats who believe the U.S. should negotiate with terrorist regimes. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi plans to visit Syria next week to meet with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. The visit will make Pelosi the most senior U.S. official ever to meet with President Assad. Pelosi’s visit to Syria would come as the United States has severed high-level contacts with Assad’s government.
The administration recalled the U.S. ambassador to Damascus after the February 2005 assassination of Rafik Hariri in Lebanon. There has been very little high- or mid-level U.S. contact with Syria since then.
So it’s deja vu all over again: negotiate and capitulate.
Posted: 0025PT 04/01/07