August 17, 2023

Biden Bends His Knee to Iran

By coughing up $6 billion in ransom, our weak president only invites more hostage-taking.

“I’ll be a president who will stand with our allies and friends and make it clear to our adversaries that the days of cozying up to dictators are over.”

That was candidate Joe Biden almost exactly three years ago, talking tough in his acceptance speech for the Democrat nomination for president. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned about the significance of the passage of time, it’s that talk is cheap. Especially Joe Biden’s talk. Indeed, Scranton Joe’s every utterance comes with an expiration date.

We might, for example, put Biden’s bold promise to the test against the rogue regime of Iran, to whom he recently promised to release several Iranians who’ve been jailed here due to trade-sanction violations and to cough up $6 billion in frozen oil assets — all in exchange for five American hostages currently being wrongly held in Iran.

“This is just the beginning of a process that I hope and expect will lead to their return home to the United States,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday. “There’s more work to be done to actually bring them home. My belief is that this is the beginning of the end of their nightmare.”

As The New York Times [reports](( “The prisoners are Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharghi and Morad Tahbaz, who had all been jailed on unsubstantiated charges of spying, as well as two others whose families withheld their names. One of the unnamed Americans is a scientist, and the other is a businessman, according to two people briefed on the arrangements of the release.”

Now, to be clear, we’re always happy to have our fellow Americans freed from foreign prisons, but it sure as heck sounds like Team Biden got rolled. Indeed, Blinken’s comments last Thursday confirmed it: “This is just the beginning of a process that I hope and expect will lead to their return home to the United States. There’s more work to be done to actually bring them home. My belief is that this is the beginning of the end of their nightmare.”

What Blinken meant was that the prisoners were released from Iran’s Evin Prison into house arrest, but they won’t be returned to American soil until the mullahs get that $6 billion in their hot little hands.

We wonder: What might a real American statesman have to say about such a deal? “Releasing $6 billion to the butchers in Tehran just so American hostages can go to a different type of prison is a terrible deal,” said former CIA Director and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “Iran shouldn’t profit from holding Americans hostage.”

As the Washington Examiner’s editorial page editors add: “Iran has unsurprisingly hailed this deal, which will bring it substantial benefits, as one of ‘honorable diplomacy.’ But it contradicts decades of U.S. counterterrorism policy centered on the understanding that Washington should not pay terrorists.”

Team Biden says that $6 billion can only be used for “humanitarian” purposes, but who’s kidding whom? As the Examiner’s editors point out: “This is delusional and naive. Money is fungible, and so a payment in one area frees up money in another. And then, of course, there is the fact that the regime in Tehran routinely breaks its word. Biden’s payment of a terrorist regime rewards terrorism and thus endangers Americans everywhere.”

Never fear, though: In that same 2020 acceptance speech, Biden said, “I’ll always stand for our values of human rights and dignity, and work for a common purpose of a more secure, peaceful, and prosperous world.”

Yep, paying exorbitant ransoms to mad mullahs sure sounds like a core American value to us. And encouraging future hostage-taking sure sounds like the way to “a more secure, peaceful, and prosperous world.”

As for ongoing negotiations with the Iranians about their nuclear program, Joe Biden still hopes to resurrect that awful Obama administration deal that Donald Trump tore to shreds in one of his first acts as president. As Blinken said in a press conference at the State Department: “There is no agreement between us on nuclear matters. The agreement that we’re pursuing to bring home those who are wrongfully detained in Iran is an entirely separate matter that we want to bring to a successful conclusion. And that’s what I’m focused on.”

We’ll see about that. And we’ll see whether curtsying to the Iranians will deter future bad behavior. For now, color us skeptical. As columnist Gary Bauer writes: “Just recently the U.S. deployed several thousand of our Marines to serve on merchant ships in the Middle East to deter Iranian harassment of those ships. The Iranians apparently have no fear of the consequences of providing Putin and his regime with drone weapons, being used with deadly effect against Ukraine.”

Leftists like Joe Biden and Antony Blinken always talk about “our standing in the world,” but when push comes to shove, they undermine that standing by coddling dictators — by caving to Iran, and to China, and to North Korea, and to Russia, and to the Taliban. Such behavior will no doubt make our enemies happier when Democrats are in power, but it won’t do anything toward restoring real American prestige.

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