PASADENA, Calif., Sept. 26, 2015 — The Democrats have been taking a victory lap to celebrate their nuclear deal with Iran. President Obama called the deal “historic,” while Nancy Pelosi described it rhapsodically as a “diplomatic masterpiece.” Even Secretary of Energy Earnest Moniz, who assisted John Kerry with the discussions in Vienna, hopped onto the late night circuit to celebrate, making an appearance on Stephen Colbert’s “Late Night.”
As all this took place, American pastor Saeed Abedini was beaten and tortured in Iranian prison after being imprisoned three years ago for the crime of simply being a Christian. This tragedy represents what is perhaps the biggest failure in a long list of shortcomings of the Iran deal.
Four Americans are being held prisoner in Iran; not one of them was freed during the months of negotiations between Iran and the United States. All four were arrested for questionable crimes, and none was given due process. The fourth prisoner is technically listed as disappeared, but many believe he is being held by the Iranian government.
To make things worse, the president of Iran is scheduled to speak at the United Nations in New York City on Monday.
While four Americans languish in Iranian prisons, the U.N. will welcome the man responsible with open arms and celebrate the “historic” Iran deal.
There are many reasons to oppose the Iran deal: the lack of inspections; the easing of sanctions, which will result in increased funding to terrorism around the world; the easing of restrictions on Gen. Soleimani; and much more. There are legitimate political reasons to ignore these problems, but the failure to free the four Americans who are being tortured every single day in deplorable conditions speaks to a moral bankruptcy. It corrodes the integrity of this administration.
The hypocrisy of this situation is stunning. President Obama went all out in his efforts to bring Army deserter Sgt. Bo Bergdahl home from Afghanistan after he was taken prisoner by Taliban forces.
Obama repeatedly said that America doesn’t leave our men and women in uniform behind and that swapping Bergdahl for five Taliban commanders was the “right thing to do.” Now it turns out that Bergdahl probably abandoned his post in Afghanistan and turned his back on his fellow soldiers, several of who died trying to find him.
Nonetheless, Obama has felt no moral obligation to extend the same efforts to these Americans imprisoned in Iran under far less controversial circumstances.
It is possible that talks have been going on behind the scenes, but the amount of time they have taken to yield results is unacceptable. At some point the administration must take responsibility for its failure to do the right thing on this issue.
Abedini is currently sitting in a jail cell in one of the most brutal Iranian prisons, where he has endured barbaric torture on an almost daily basis. He has been there for almost three years and has likely given up hope that the country that adopted him will ever come to his rescue. His crime? Being a Christian.
This is the regime that the Obama administration just sat at a table and negotiated with for months.
President Obama may have forgotten about these American prisoners, but the country sure hasn’t.
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