September 20, 2023

Iran Prisoner Swap

“Five Americans freed from Iran made an emotional return to the United States on Tuesday ending their imprisonment ‘nightmare’, a day after they were swapped for five Iranians held in the U.S. and the unfreezing of $6 billion in Iranian funds.” Reuters

Both sides call for tough measures to punish hostage-taking by foreign governments:

“The number of Americans wrongfully imprisoned by foreign governments has been rising for more than a decade… However, a new report released Wednesday showed the number of Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad has fallen for the first time in over 10 years…

“Families of former hostages and other advocates believe the trend reflects a change in how the U.S. government now approaches cases of detained Americans… But what is still missing is a concerted strategy to deter regimes from taking hostages in the first place, she and other experts said. The U.S. and its allies need to collectively impose serious penalties on ‘abductor states,’ including financial sanctions, travel bans or asset freezes, experts said.”
Dan De Luce and Abigail Williams, NBC News

“President Biden, in his statement, warned Americans not to travel to Iran, but the U.S. should be firmer and say that Americans who travel there do so at their own risk. That includes dual U.S.-Iran citizens. No ransom will be paid in the future for their release

“The U.S. and its allies will also have to make clear that Iran and other countries will pay a steep price for taking American hostages. The response can include diplomatic steps such as expelling Iranian diplomats, imposing economic sanctions, and harsher forms of retribution against Iranian assets and officials. Rogue regimes and thugs will keep snatching and imprisoning Americans until they fear that the risks of doing so are greater than the ransom they seek.”
Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

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