Iran: Hostages and Counterterrorism Seizures

Iran announced this week that three American “journalists” who were arrested crossing the Iraq-Iran border on July 31 would be tried as spies. In other words, they will be given a show trial, sentenced to some draconian punishment, and then magnanimously released by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in order to make Iran look good (see also North Korea v. Laura Ling and Euna Lee). While we will always promote safeguarding the lives of American citizens unjustly brought to trial or harm by foreign countries, the known facts of this case make it appear that the three got themselves arrested on purpose. To what end — to sympathize with poor innocent Iran in its struggle against the bullying of the United States? Or simply to boost their careers? Only the three defendants know for certain. We will add their names to the long list of “useful idiots” who have handed brutal dictatorships a public relations victory.

In other news, Israel this week released photographs documenting Iran’s latest attempt to arm the enemies of civilization, in this case several shipping containers of Iranian weapons seized by the Israelis, which were destined for Syria, and then to Hezbollah. The photographs show what Israel described as “several hundred tons” of rockets, mortar rounds and other arms — all of which Iran is expressly forbidden to export under the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 1747. We won’t hold our breath waiting for the UN to back up UNSCR 1747 — they’ll probably just censure Israel for an “unauthorized” boarding at sea.

Finally, Fox News reports, “Federal prosecutors have taken steps to seize four U.S. mosques and a Manhattan skyscraper owned by [the Alavi Foundation,] a nonprofit Muslim organization long suspected of being secretly controlled by the Iranian government.” The counterterrorism seizure of more than $500 million in assets could end up being the biggest such case in U.S. history, and would be a blow to Iran.


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