The United States just released $6 billion to Iran, apparently in exchange for seven hostages. That’s an outrageous violation of the principle—do not negotiate with terrorists.
Iran is a rogue state. The country is illegally sending suicide drones, and allegedly drone specialists, to kill Ukrainian civilians. It is close to testing its first nuclear weapon and has refused international nuclear inspectors on its territory.
Iran’s leadership, the establishment of Mullahs, has killed hundreds of Iranian protesters who want democracy and freedom, including the removal of headscarf requirements for women.
The Mullahs regularly kidnap U.S. and European citizens for diplomatic leverage. On Aug. 10, the Financial Times reported that the United States was planning to pay what should be considered billions in ransom. The hostages arrived home in the United States on Sept. 19.
While every true American is happy to have our citizens back, giving into what amounts to state-directed terrorism, brigandage, and hooliganism, with the astonishing sum of $6 billion, is obviously too much. While officials in Washington will say there are checks on the money to ensure it is only used for humanitarian purposes in Iran, like food and medicine, we all know that money is fungible. When money is earmarked for one use, other money is freed for other uses, like nuclear weapons and suicide drones.
The eye-popping ransom is making international headlines and will incentivize exponentially greater hostage-taking of Americans around the world in the future. It will make travel and diplomacy by Americans anywhere in the world increasingly unsafe.
For example, a Sept. 15 report revealed that Taliban terrorists abducted 18 people from a Swiss nonprofit, including one American, who were operating in Afghanistan. Could the Taliban seek the release of another $1 billion for their American hostage? Hostage-taking will not stop until we start responding to terrorism with sticks, not carrots.
As the Editorial Board of The Wall Street Journal rightly notes, future American travelers to Iran should be told that they should not go, and if they do go, they will not be ransomed under any circumstances. Neither should they be traded for high-level criminals and arms dealers, as Washington is now wont to do. Instead, the United States and allies should make Iran pay, the Journal notes, by “expelling Iranian diplomats, imposing economic sanctions, and harsher forms of retribution against Iranian assets and officials.”
Iranian President Ebrahim Rahimi spoke at the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 19, essentially arguing for the replacement of American hegemony with a multipolar world of regions and warning that the Iranian regime would use all its tools of power to bring to “justice” the perpetrators of the “terrorist” assassination of Qasem Soleimani. The Iranian general was a brutal sponsor of international terrorism who shared responsibility for the “slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Sunni Syrians and the displacement of millions,” according to one analyst.
Mr. Rahimi’s latest speech at the U.N. lionized Soleimani and was yet another thinly veiled threat against former President Donald Trump.
Several Republican congressmen, including Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, have advocated enforcing existing laws against allowing Mr. Rahimi into the United States, including to address the U.N. According to Mr. Cruz, “Raisi has a record of terrorist activities, including his advocacy for the assassination of President Trump and other U.S. officials. He is also listed by the State Department as ineligible for entering the United States because of mass atrocities he committed.”
Given the lack of enforcement against Mr. Raisi, the senators are right to propose a tougher law banning him from the United States, including for visits to the U.N.
Iran has egregiously violated the letter and spirit of the U.N. Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which it ratified in 1948. Mr. Raisi and the entire Iranian delegation to the U.N. should be ejected from the United States until Iran’s governance improves.
The world has failed to hold its most dangerous dictators to account for their violations of the Universal Declaration, and the result is increasing amounts of instability and war with increasingly lethal weaponry. In a nuclear age, this is unsustainable. Iran, along with its partners Russia, China, and North Korea, are at the center of the problem.
The United States and Europe, with allies and partners like South Korea and Qatar, must strengthen our collective response to Iran. There should be no more ransoms paid. No more negotiations. Washington and our allies should start increasing sanctions and tariffs on Iran and anyone who does business with Iran until it begins to democratize and improve its human rights.
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Anders Corr has a bachelor's/master's in political science from Yale University (2001) and a doctorate in government from Harvard University (2008). He is a principal at Corr Analytics Inc., publisher of the Journal of Political Risk, and has conducted extensive research in North America, Europe, and Asia. His latest books are “The Concentration of Power: Institutionalization, Hierarchy, and Hegemony” (2021) and “Great Powers, Grand Strategies: the New Game in the South China Sea" (2018).