FreeAllThree.com Editorial – Iran should compensate for Jason Rezaian’s and his wife Yegi’s arbitrary detention. Yegi, also a reporter, was eventually released, but only after legal expenses and bail were paid. The other three Americans held in Iran today should be compensated as well. They are retired FBI/DEA agent Robert Levinson, former US Marine Amir Hekmati and Christian Pastor Saeed Abedini.
Robert Levinson has been held for over 8 years, Amir Hekmati for 4 years and Saeed Abedini, 3 years! Unfortunately, Iran has a history of exacting large bail payments (i.e. ransom) in order to get foreigners released. It is well-reported regarding the 3 young hikers who were released … back in 2010-11 (in exchange for 4 Iranians) that ‘an unknown person or entity’ paid their ‘bail’ in the amount of $500,000 EACH!
And all of these last prisoner swaps took place at a time when the U.S. and Iran did not have official diplomatic contacts! For the past 20 months the U.S. has had numerous meetings including one-on-ones with Iran. Yet no action or even a hint of movement that their cases are close to being resolved.
It’s worth noting that when the 52 American hostages were held 444 days from 1979-81 and were about to be released, the Iranians moved them to a former hotel for several weeks. It was made into a quasi-hospital just for the hostages. They received better food, clean water, showers, health care, clothing etc. so that the world didn’t see how horribly they had been treated. Many were beaten, sick, psychologically abused and gaunt from insufficient food.
The sentence just above describes the conditions of today’s hostages also! I’m praying for movement in the hearts of Iran’s leaders to start doing the right thing. I’m praying for wisdom of America’s leaders to strike the right message and obtain the immediate release of these 4 men. I’m looking for any signal of actual movement and better care ahead of their release!
Some free advice to Iran’s Ayatollah: Do you want to look more humane to the rest of the world that is watching you very carefully right now? If so, let these 4 American’s go now. No further demands or bazaar trading. You have been compensated sufficient ransom. It is time for you and your regime to show that you can be humane in the treatment of foreigners who visit your country. If you are trying to increase your treasury by making Iran a tourist attraction, holding these 4 men in deplorable conditions is not helpful.
The Rezaian case has become a showcase for Iran’s ruthless internal power struggles and the politicization of its judicial system. The 39-year-old reporter, who was born and raised in California but is an Iranian and U.S. citizen, has been described by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as “a good reporter” and a “friend.” Yet he has been held in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison since July 22,  apparently at the instigation of intelligence and judicial authorities.
Not until last week was Mr. Rezaian allowed a substantial meeting with his attorney. A statement she provided afterward said he was charged with four crimes, including espionage, “collaborating with hostile governments,” “propaganda against the establishment” and “collecting information about internal and foreign policy and providing them to individuals with malicious intent.” On Wednesday, Mr. Zarif suggested that a “low-level operative” for the U.S. government might have tried to “take advantage” of Mr. Rezaian by asking him to gather information.
Both Post Executive Editor Martin Baron and the White House quickly pointed out that the accusations are absurd. As Mr. Obama said, Mr. Rezaian is guilty of doing nothing more than “writing about the hopes and fears of the Iranian people.” His attorney’s statement said the case file she read offered no evidence to back up the charges. But she also told Mr. Rezaian’s family that she does not expect to be allowed to meet with him again before his trial, making it difficult to prepare a defense.
This blatantly unjust treatment is showing Iran to be a country where well-meaning foreign visitors, including potential Western investors, are vulnerable to being seized as hostages or used as pawns in power struggles they have nothing to do with.
Screengrab and sketch above by Michael Cavna were added to this article by FreeAllThree.com.
Link to Cavna’s “Sketchbook” series that appeared in The Post adding a line for each day of Rezaian’s detention: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2015/05/29/sketchbook-still-counting-the-311-days-of-injustice-for-the-posts-jason-rezaian/
The Obama Administration’s routine acknowledgement of the plight of America’s 4 hostages’ in Iran is not enough! It will not bring them home. All 4 men have been wrongly held now in unimaginably dire conditions. I often say that GITMO prisoners have it far better! This matter will not be resolved until the President of the United States and his Secretary of State John Kerry make some hard-nosed, forceful demands of Iran. They have had a chance the past 18 months, but for whatever reasons the 4 hostages were NOT a top priority. The Middle-East region responds to forceful statements and actions … not “shake our hand and smile for a photo-op, please?” America and the West ARE more about optics. Without a new stronger approach, these 4 Americans will continue to languish in Iran’s most dangerous conditions.
We are pleased by the greatly increased attention the 4 American hostages have gotten in recent months. This includes on social media platforms Twitter and Facebook as well as TV, radio and print interviews with family members and representatives in Washington, DC. This ‘surge‘ must be maintained until the Obama Administration acts sufficiently to win the liberty of all 4 men and bring them home to their families.
Please continue to support these men – stay informed – pray as you are so led – get involved! Each man has a unique ‘story’ that is posted elsewhere on this website. There are many interesting facts about the men and links to their families’ Facebook and Twitter accounts. The 4 are at risk of further declining health and cannot, should not, be held against their wills another month, much less another year in Iran!
FreeAllThree.com adds its voice to encourage Americans to call, write, text, email, tweet or visit their Congressman and Senators to: Demand that the Obama Administration take urgent steps immediately to Free All 4 Americans who are held hostages and pawns in Iran today!
Tell your Senators and Congressman to VOTE ‘NO’ on the Iran nuclear deal until all 4 men are freed. Congress has 60 days to review the deal with voting in late September. After the 60 days, America’s leverage to win freedom for these 4 men diminishes drastically.
If you don’t know your Congressional representatives’ names and contact info: an easy-to-use ‘interactive map’ is on the ALCJ.org website. Or follow this link for How to Get Involved with ideas you can use: http://wp.me/P49SUn-oY
Thanks for your concern regarding the 4 Americans held hostage in Iran and for their families who are suffering immensely. They along with us are perplexed why the U.S. hasn’t been effective in bringing these men home. News about U.S. and Iranian relations and other related middle-east developments are posted here on this website on a regular basis.
NO BILLIONS OF U.S. DOLLARS IN SANCTIONS RELIEF UNTIL IRAN FREES ALL 4 AMERICANS!
Please share this page via Twitter or Facebook if you ‘Like.’ Thanks.
Email corrections/comments to: Daniel @ FreeAllThree . com (Website URL is www.freeallthree.com)