Former Iranian hostages: The deal stinks

posted at 8:11 am on November 26, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Thirty-four years ago, dozens of Americans working in our embassy in Tehran got a personal look at Iranian diplomatic integrity and reasonableness in the new mullahcracy.  It took the Carter administration 444 days of impotence to get the hostages released, even though as diplomats they should never have been detained in the first place.  Nearly 33 years after their release, most of them have harsh words for the Obama-Kerry deal with Iran, and at least one of them feels a sense of deja vu:

But for many of the 66 Americans who were held hostage for 444 days at the start of the Iranian revolution, trusting the regime in Tehran feels like a mistake.

“It’s kind of like Jimmy Carter all over again,” said Clair Cortland Barnes, now retired and living in Leland, N.C., after a career at the CIA and elsewhere. He sees the negotiations now as no more effective than they were in 1979 and 1980, when he and others languished, facing mock executions and other torments. The hostage crisis began in November of 1979 when militants stormed the United States Embassy in Tehran and seized its occupants.

Retired Air Force Col. Thomas E. Schaefer, 83, called the deal “foolishness.”

“My personal view is, I never found an Iranian leader I can trust,” he said. “I don’t think today it’s any different from when I was there. None of them, I think, can be trusted. Why make an agreement with people you can’t trust?”

A handful of the former hostages support the deal, but not because they believe the Iranians are eager to gain a rapprochement with the West.  One of them, John Limbert, thinks the Iranian mullahs might have sobered up after the Arab Spring revolts, and see the need to end the impoverishment of their people as a priority over gaining nuclear weapons.  Another thinks that the Iranians are fragmented, and that the US needs to boost those who still operate from a more moderate position. Most of them, though, find the entire exercise offensive:

Sgt. Rodney “Rocky” Sickmann, 56, of St. Louis, then a Marine sergeant, remembers clearly being told by his captors that their goal was to use the hostages to humiliate the American government, and he suspects this interim deal is in that vein.

“It just hurts. We negotiated for 444 days and not one time did they agree to anything … and here they beg for us to negotiate and we do,” he said. “It’s hard to swallow. We negotiate with our enemies and stab our allies in the back. That doesn’t seem good.”

Congress isn’t too keen on the deal, either, and that has become a bipartisan theme in the days since John Kerry announced the agreement.  However, both Republicans and Democrats find themselves stuck in the conundrum of either actively undermining the deal and getting the blame when it fails, or letting the six-month period unfold and preparing for Iran’s inevitable betrayal.  As Olivier Knox reports for Yahoo News, they’re leaning toward the latter:

Congress didn’t exactly sound the trumpets and roll out the red carpet for President Barack Obama’s fragile interim deal with Iran — but it’s increasingly clear that lawmakers don’t want to blow it up with new sanctions, either.

Instead, wary members seem set to adopt the same approach Obama has taken to Iran’s nuclear commitments — in the words of Ronald Reagan, “trust but verify.”

“The administration has gotten what it wants: Space for negotiations. And it will continue to get what it wants: Space. But not without consequences or repercussions if Iran breaks faith,” a top Democratic aide close to the process told Yahoo News.

That doesn’t mean Congress will sit on their hands, either:

It’s virtually a foregone conclusion that Secretary of State John Kerry and other senior diplomats will be called to justify the arrangement and provide frequent updates on Iranian compliance.

And legislation is far from ruled out. Congress is looking at options such as new sanctions that don’t go into effect until the interim agreement’s six-month lifespan slips by without a comprehensive deal — or unless Iran fails to implement any key aspect of the deal.

That approach appears to have found favor with the powerful American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which pressed Congress to adopt new sanctions “so that Iran will face immediate consequences should it renege on its commitments or refuse to negotiate an acceptable final agreement.”

The Associated Press reports this morning on that effort, too:

Leading Democratic and Republican senators are crafting legislation to reinstate the full force of sanctions and impose new ones if Iran doesn’t make good on its pledge to roll back its nuclear program, brushing aside the Obama administration’s fears about upending its diplomatic momentum.

Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., hope to have the bill ready for other lawmakers to consider when the Senate returns Dec. 9 from its two-week recess, according to legislative aides. Many in Congress are skeptical, if not outright hostile, to the deal reached by Iran and world powers over the weekend in Geneva.

The Kirk-Menendez measure would require the administration to certify every 30 days that Iran is adhering to the terms of the six-month interim agreement and that it hasn’t been involved in any act of terrorism against the United States.

Without that certification, sanctions worth more than $1 billion a month would be re-imposed and new sanctions would be added. The new measures would include bans on investing in Iran’s engineering, mining and construction industries and a global boycott of Iranian oil by 2015. Foreign companies and banks violating the sanctions would be barred from doing business in the United States.

In other words, Congress wants to prepare itself in case this turns out to be a Carteresque move, and they’re not going to wait 444 days for it to play out.


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I guess those who say that Teh SCOAMT’s terms have been the 2nd and 3rd Carter terms have something.

I still maintain it’s the 5th and 6th FDR terms, however.

Steve Eggleston on November 26, 2013 at 8:14 AM

Former Iranian hostages: The deal stinks
=========================================

Former Iranian Hostages: The Deal is Choomed/We Weeded UP
(snark)

canopfor on November 26, 2013 at 8:18 AM

“It’s kind of like Jimmy Carter all over again,”

As it’s been said elsewhere, Jimmy Carter II would’ve been the best case scenario.

apostic on November 26, 2013 at 8:18 AM

The Kirk-Menendez measure would require the administration to certify every 30 days that Iran is adhering to the terms of the six-month interim agreement and that it hasn’t been involved in any act of terrorism against the United States.

…well hey!…that’ll work!………like an ObamaCare website!

KOOLAID2 on November 26, 2013 at 8:18 AM

Without that certification, sanctions worth more than $1 billion a month would be re-imposed and new sanctions would be added. The new measures would include bans on investing in Iran’s engineering, mining and construction industries and a global boycott of Iranian oil by 2015. Foreign companies and banks violating the sanctions would be barred from doing business in the United States.
==============

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canopfor on November 26, 2013 at 8:24 AM

The Kirk-Menendez measure would require the administration to certify every 30 days that Iran is adhering to the terms of the six-month interim agreement and that it hasn’t been involved in any act of terrorism against the United States.

Since this administration isn’t too keen on the truth, how could we ever trust that their “certification” isn’t mere BS?

Bitter Clinger on November 26, 2013 at 8:24 AM

It is also worth noting that Iran is holding an American pastor hostage in prison. no part of this deal included a negotiation for his release. Sad, sad indeed

ted c on November 26, 2013 at 8:27 AM

They shouldn’t wait 6 months either

cmsinaz on November 26, 2013 at 8:29 AM

It took the Carter administration 444 days of impotence to get the hostages released, even though as diplomats they should never have been detained in the first place.

As Wikipedia states, and as my memory confirms: “The hostages were formally released into United States custody the day after the signing of the Algiers Accords, just minutes after the new American president Ronald Reagan was sworn into office.” I personally think that’s the reason they were released; there was a new sheriff in town, and Iran knew they couldn’t mess with him.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a chance in six months for a Reagan to ride into town and clean it up.

I don’t trust Iran worth spit, and this deal stinks. My heart aches for an Israel alone in the world. God bless Bibi Netanyahu and keep Israel safe.

theotherone on November 26, 2013 at 8:32 AM

Obama might just end up ending the bitter partisan divide in DC: both sides will converge on the opinion that Obama is incompetent and bad for the country.

gwelf on November 26, 2013 at 8:32 AM

Ahem,…shorter version:

Reuters Top News ‏@Reuters 6h

Former Iran hostages: amid rapprochement they still want apologies http://reut.rs/I9UIwZ
======================

Former Iran hostages: amid rapprochement they still want apologies

By Tabassum Zakaria
WASHINGTON Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:03am EST
**************************************

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/24/us-iran-nuclear-hostages-idUSBRE9AN0BR20131124?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&dlvrit=992637

canopfor on November 26, 2013 at 8:33 AM

“Yeah but…we should build our defenses up in the mountains and then hide!”

-anti federalist

Bishop on November 26, 2013 at 8:47 AM

Sanctions were never entirely popular with Germany, China and Russia, all big Iranian trading partners. Relaxing the sanctions regime now, as part of this so-called “interim” agreement, an agreement that is not even fully written yet and not signed by Iran, means we’ve given up the only club we had and got literally nothing in return. Not even a signature on a worthless piece of paper.

Getting those countries to agree to reimpose sanctions will be impossible for this White House. They can’t do it.

MTF on November 26, 2013 at 8:50 AM

There are literally only three people who don’t think this deal sucks.

The lazy stupid coward in the White House.
John Kerry.
The team “fixing” Healthcare.gov

Happy Nomad on November 26, 2013 at 8:52 AM

Obama might just end up ending the bitter partisan divide in DC: both sides will converge on the opinion that Obama is incompetent and bad for the country.

gwelf on November 26, 2013 at 8:32 AM

In all honesty and objectivity. It is hard to see how the filthy stupid bastard can regain the trust and credibility he once had. My guess is that the Dems current strategy is to loot the nation up until Jan 2015 because they know they’re done after the mid-term elections.

Happy Nomad on November 26, 2013 at 8:54 AM

“The hostages were formally released into United States custody the day after the signing of the Algiers Accords, just minutes after the new American president Ronald Reagan was sworn into office.”

theotherone on November 26, 2013 at 8:32 AM

I was at the inauguration in 1981. Because of the hostage release the parade was delayed for a couple hours. The crowd didn’t mind. After the Carter years they were thrilled a real leader was finally in office. As we were leaving, the Christmas tree on the elipse was lit- first time in two years because Carter kept it dark so long as the hostages were not free.

Happy Nomad on November 26, 2013 at 9:00 AM

MTF on November 26, 2013 at 8:50 AM

Without fully understanding the additional sanctions – just based on the description above – I think all of our trading partners will comply pretty quick – losing access to our market pretty much kills any international company. And thanks to our collaterized mortgage obligations we sold around the world, most foreign banks couldn’t handle the shock.

It will be interesting to see what China thinks of this. Everyone follishly sees us as over a barrel with China, when in reality it is the other way around.

Fun times.

Zomcon JEM on November 26, 2013 at 9:05 AM

I truly wonder if all this is Obama’s fulfilling his pre-election demand that, when he’s President, he’ll talk to any country’s leaders if he wants to, specifically including Iran’s, because he’ll be the President, and he’ll do what he wants to do.

Sticking his finger in the eye of those who said, “you can’t talk to Iran, they held our guys hostage for over a year, they are the prime sponsor of terrorism all over the globe, they want to nuke Israel, they can’t be trusted”. Because he loves to stick his finger in the eye of those who tell him what he can’t do, or disagree with him.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/02/us/politics/02obama.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

New York Times
If Elected …
Obama Envisions New Iran Approach
By MICHAEL R. GORDON and JEFF ZELENY
Published: November 2, 2007

CHICAGO, Oct. 31 — Senator Barack Obama says he would “engage in aggressive personal diplomacy” with Iran if elected president and would offer economic inducements and a possible promise not to seek “regime change” if Iran stopped meddling in Iraq and cooperated on terrorism and nuclear issues.

In an hourlong interview on Wednesday, Mr. Obama made clear that forging a new relationship with Iran would be a major element of a broad effort to stabilize Iraq as he executed a speedy timetable for the withdrawal of American combat troops.

Mr. Obama said that Iran had been “acting irresponsibly” by supporting Shiite militant groups in Iraq. He also emphasized that Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program and its support for “terrorist activities” were serious concerns.

But he asserted that Iran’s support for militant groups in Iraq reflected its anxiety over the Bush administration’s policies in the region, including talk of a possible American military strike on Iranian nuclear installations.

Making clear that he planned to talk to Iran without preconditions, Mr. Obama emphasized further that “changes in behavior” by Iran could possibly be rewarded with membership in the World Trade Organization, other economic benefits and security guarantees.

“We are willing to talk about certain assurances in the context of them showing some good faith,” he said in the interview at his campaign headquarters here. “I think it is important for us to send a signal that we are not hellbent on regime change, just for the sake of regime change, but expect changes in behavior. And there are both carrots and there are sticks available to them for those changes in behavior.”

In his Democratic presidential bid, Mr. Obama has vigorously sought to distinguish himself on foreign policy from his rivals, particularly Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, by asserting that he would sit down for diplomatic meetings with countries like Iran, North Korea and Syria with no preconditions.

The suggestion, which emerged as a flash point in the campaign, has prompted Mrs. Clinton to question whether such an approach would amount to little more than a propaganda victory for the United States’ adversaries and to question the experience of Mr. Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois. Other Democrats, in turn, have criticized Mrs. Clinton for an approach to Iran they call too hawkish, including a vote for a nonbinding resolution describing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran as a terrorist organization.

Mr. Obama’s willingness to conduct talks at the highest level with Iran also differs significantly from the Bush administration’s approach.

[...]

Paul-Cincy on November 26, 2013 at 9:09 AM

Eisenhower: Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.
Rumsfeld: Plans are nothing; planning is everything.
Obama: I had this plan six years ago to engage Iran, so here goes.

Paul-Cincy on November 26, 2013 at 9:19 AM

Paul-Cincy on November 26, 2013 at 9:09 AM

Very interesting & telling. Thank for sharing that.

KS Rex on November 26, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Very interesting & telling. Thank for sharing that.

KS Rex on November 26, 2013 at 9:20 AM

You’re welcome. Falls under the “when people tell you who they are, believe them” category.

Paul-Cincy on November 26, 2013 at 9:29 AM

Look…if you like your peaceful purposed uranium enrichment program, you can keep your peaceful purposed uranium enrichment program. Period.

XOXO

Barry “Neville Champerlain” Obama

Wyznowski on November 26, 2013 at 9:35 AM

“It’s kind of like Jimmy Carter all over again.”

Well, Zbigniew Brzezinski (Mika’s father) was Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor and has been an advisor to Obama.

And Valerie Jarrett was born in Iran.

ITguy on November 26, 2013 at 9:54 AM

It took the Carter administration 444 days of impotence to get the hostages released

“The hostages were formally released into United States custody the day after the signing of the Algiers Accords, just minutes after the new American president Ronald Reagan was sworn into office.”

I personally think that’s the reason they were released; there was a new sheriff in town, and Iran knew they couldn’t mess with him.

Exactly.

The Carter administration didn’t take “444 days of impotence to get the hostages release”… the Carter administration NEVER got the hostages released. The hostages were still hostages at the end of Carter’s Presidency. It was the swearing-in of Ronald Reagan that triggered the release of the hostages.

ITguy on November 26, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Iran
3m
===

White House pleads for Iran to return missing retired FBI agent who is believed held by Iran’s intelligence services – @thehill
read more on thehill.com
=========================

https://twitter.com/thehill

canopfor on November 26, 2013 at 10:19 AM

This Iran deal is just the beginning of the fire sale the Admin will be conducting to deflect the disasterous rollout that is ObamaCare.

And if you think the U.S. is getting a bum deal now, just wait until January when HHS has missed its November 30 deadline “for the vast majority” by a huge margin and people still can’t get enrolled in 2014, and have no coverage. The fire sale prices will be unbelievable.

parke on November 26, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Don’t miss Drudge’s ‘peace in our time’ photoshop.

slickwillie2001 on November 26, 2013 at 10:54 AM

Obama abandoned Americans in under attack #Benghazi because it was politically inconvenient to help them. We should not be surprised that he would abandon Americans imprisoned in Iran for the same reason.

novaculus on November 26, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Carter is dancing. No longer the worst.

faol on November 26, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Certification every 30 days from this administration sounds a little, uh, “suboptimal”.

BKeyser on November 26, 2013 at 12:59 PM