During a White House press conference yesterday President Obama essentially said that he was not willing to negotiate with Congressional Republicans on the federal budget, but would so with Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism. It was an unfortunate development that capped off a week of diplomatic chatter and Iranian untruths.
President Obama says these discussions are part of a “difficult” history between the two nations. Unless the administration has information that it is not releasing to the public, the only thing difficult about this recent development is the painful reality that the U.S. has been duped by the mullahs in Tehran. The Iranians are engaging at what they know how to do best, smoke and mirror as well as delay tactics.
Feeling pressure and increased isolation from economic sanctions, the mullahs are orchestrating a yet unknown play. They have replace the fiery Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with a Mohammad Khatami-like Hassan Rouhani. Underneath the rhetorical veneer, however, nothing has changed. It is the same anti-U.S., anti-Israel, anti-Christian, and anti-Western system that seeks regional domination and a weaponized nuclear program.
Since the Obama Administration has taken the bait, might as well make the most of the publicity and seek justice for the 52 U.S. hostages held in captivity by the regime at the start of the Iranian Revolution. The hostages and their families have been prevented from settling claims against the Iranians because of the 1981 Algiers Accords signed between the U.S. and Iran.
Iran has violated the spirit, if not the letter of the accords multiple times. It negotiated in bad faith and has continually engaged in acts of terrorism outside of Iran aimed at the United States and our interests. But there is no need to revisit this issue at this time as there is another solution that would not violate the accords.
The Obama Administration should compensate the former hostages by authorizing the use of current funds, or future penalties, collected from U.S. and foreign companies resulting from violations of U.S.-Iran sanctions. There has been various, albeit unsuccessful efforts in the Congress to do just that. Why wait for Congress to act? If the Obama Administration is so eager to sit down with the Iranians for faux peace talks, it should take care of our own first.