By Ted Belman
Mark Steyn reminds us that Iran is presently holding Americans hostage.
Odd that, isn’t it? But they’re there. For example, for two months now, Haleh Esfandiari has been detained in Evin prison in Tehran. Ms. Esfandiari is a U.S. citizen and had traveled to Iran to visit her sick mother. She is the director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, which is the kind of gig that would impress your fellow guests at a Washington dinner party. Unfortunately, the mullahs say it’s an obvious cover for a Bush spy. Among the other Zionist-neocon agents currently held in Iranian jails are an American journalist, an American sociologist for a George Soros-funded leftie group, and an American peace activist from California, Ali Shakeri, whose capture became known shortly after the U.S. and Iran held their first direct talks since the original hostage crisis.
Two months in an Iranian jail is no fun. Four years ago, a Montreal photojournalist, Zahra Kazemi, was arrested by police in Tehran, taken to Evin prison, and wound up getting questioned to death. Upon her capture, the Canadian government had done as the State Department is apparently doing â€” kept things discreet, low-key, cards close to the chest, quiet word in the right ears â€¦ By the time Zahra Kazemi’s son, frustrated by his government’s ineffable equanimity, got the story out, it was too late for his mother.
Then he reminds us just how unpleasant imprsonment in Iran can be.
The following year, Shahram Azam, a physician who’d examined Ms. Kazemi’s body, fled Iran and said that she had broken fingers, a broken nose, a crushed toe, a skull fracture, severe abdominal bruising, and internal damage consistent with various forms of rape. Quite an accident.
“In your eye”
Officially, Iran is “negotiating” with the European Union over its nuclear program. If this were a real negotiation, instead of a transnational pseudo-negotiation, the Iranians would be concerned to stop any complicating factors coming into play. Instead, every week they gaily toss new provocations into their EU chums’ laps: In recent days, they’ve stoned to death various fellows for adultery and homosexuality, two activities to which Europeans are generally very partial. But why let a few stonings throw your negotiations off track? And, if the Americans are so eager to get a seat at the negotiating table, why not remind them of the rules of the game? Last week, the Iranians paraded their U.S. hostages all over TV as they confessed to engaging in espionage, along the way fingering the Woodrow Wilson Centre and George Soros as key elements in the plot to overthrow the ayatollahs. If only.
And ends with this warning.
In America, public opinion is in no mood for war with Iran. In Washington, Congress is focused on finding the most politically advantageous way to lose in Iraq. In Europe, they’ve already psychologically accepted the Iranian nuclear umbrella. In the western world, where talks are not the means to the end but an end in themselves, we find it hard despite the evidence of 30 years to accept that Iran talks the talk and walks the walk. Once it goes nuclear, do you think there will be fewer fatwas on writers, stonings of homosexuals, kidnappings in international waters, forced confessions of American hostages, and bankrolling of terror groups worldwide? These latest hostages are part of a decades-old pattern of behavior. The longer it goes without being stopped, the worse it will be.