The West, Iran, and the Policy of Hostage Taking
Students holding hostages captive at the US Embassy chant anti-American slogans after prayers in the compound, Dec. 22, 1979 in Tehran, Iran. (Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images)

The West, Iran, and the Policy of Hostage Taking

Al Rai, Kuwait, January 20

It pays to revisit history from time to time. For over 40 years, the West – Europe and the United States – has been paying the price of complacency in dealing with the Islamic Republic in Iran. Why does Tehran consistently resort to this winning policy? This is due to two reasons: the effectiveness of this policy – based on the idea of exporting the revolution – and the Western submission to it. In November 1979, a few months after the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, Ayatollah Khomeini was able to eliminate every trace of the Shah. The Iranian policy based itself on taking hostages. The hostage taking was carried out for the first time at the US Embassy in Tehran and included the 52 diplomats working in the embassy. President Jimmy Carter paid dearly for his complacency with the Iranian regime, which was going through a period of internal transformation toward more extremism and hostility to all that is American. The Carter Administration, at a time when America was suffering from the Vietnam complex, carried out an operation aimed at rescuing the hostages. The operation ended in a fiasco. It was a deal concluded by the new regime in Iran with those around Ronald Reagan, the Republican candidate. The deal, details of which were later revealed by the American media, led to the nonrelease of American diplomats before the date of the presidential elections. This revealed a complete ignorance of the nature of the regime in Iran. This happened in the absence of the ability of successive administrations to comprehend the depth of the relationship that existed from the beginning between Tehran and Moscow. For years, there was a belief in Washington that the Islamic Revolution in Iran, which raised the slogan “neither East nor West,” would be the best barrier in the face of Soviet expansion. It became clear with the passage of time that this kind of thinking was not true. The Ukrainian war came to confirm the link between post-Shah Iran, on the one hand, and the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation, which came after him, on the other. The American complacency with Iran reached its climax with the handing over of Iraq on a silver platter by the Bush Administration to Iran in 2003, and then with the conclusion of an agreement between the group of P5+1 countries (the permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany) regarding the Iranian nuclear file in the summer of 2015. The Obama Administration was the one that pushed for this agreement, which constitutes an integral part of the blackmail policy. The agreement increased the aggression of the Islamic Republic and provided money for its sectarian militias. The question has always been whether or not Iran seeks to be a normal country that refuses to take hostages. The question was what would it do with its missiles, militias, and drones that are currently killing civilians in Ukraine. There is no indication that Iran wants to be a normal country. Indeed, it is still practicing its hostage policy with full force. Lebanon, for example, has become a complete hostage of Iran, which can do whatever it wants with it whenever it wants. It is not yet known whether the West has awakened to the Iranian truth and finally discovered the nature of the regime in this country of ancient civilization. The primary culprit responsible for the continuation of the hostage-taking policy is the West, especially since it did not appreciate the full consequences of giving into the demands of the Islamic Republic when it detained 52 American diplomats for 444 days back in 1979. Khairallah Khairallah (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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