News & Politics

Iranian Official Says Republicans Urged Iran to Delay Prisoner Swap

Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani, right, welcomes Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano, at the start of their meeting in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, July 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

According to a report in the Tasnim News Agency, Iran received a message from unnamed Republicans urging them to delay releasing Americans held prisoner until after the presidential elections.

Tasnim is an Iranian news site and is considered the propaganda arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani said a recent prisoner exchange between Iran and the US went ahead as planned despite calls by Republicans for a delay until US presidential elections.

“In the course of the talks for exchanging prisoners, the Republican rivals of the current US administration who claim to be humanitarians and advocates of human rights sent a message telling us not to release these people (American prisoners) and continue this process (of talks) until the eve of US presidential elections,” Shamkhani said Thursday in an address to a rally held in the central city of Yazd to mark the 37th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution’s victory.

“However” he said “we acted upon our independent resolve and moved the process forward.”

Iran’s move to exchange prisoners was based on the country’s humanitarian approach and was made in accordance with ensuring the country’s interests and securing the release of Iranian citizens in the US, he added.

Shamkhani underlined that on the issue of prisoner swap, Iran proved that it is not influenced by any foreign or domestic pressure but acts against spies and infiltrators decisively.

Iran on January 16 released four prisoners with dual citizenship based on a decision by the country’s Supreme National Security Council within the framework of a prisoner swap.

Amir Mirzaee Hekmati, Jason Rezaian, Saeed Abedini, and Nosratollah Khosravi who hold US citizenship were among the released prisoners.

On the same day, 7 Iranian nationals imprisoned in US jails were released as per the prisoner swap.

Nobody actually takes this seriously, right?


The problem for Republicans is that this claim, which might well be false bravado, actually sounds reasonable given their behavior. This seems exactly like something they would do.

This wouldn’t be the first time Republicans have tried to sabotage the Iran deal. In July of 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu indirectly admitted that he was working with Republicans in Congress to kill President Obama’s Iran deal.

This, of course, is treason. Republicans worked with a foreign against the foreign policy of the President.

So it’s not a stretch to suppose that there could be some truth to Shamkhani’s claims. Republicans have spent years “investigating” various Democrats and organizations that help the poor based on less evidence than this, so they have absolutely no room to complain if this charge is used against them. In fact they will be lucky if Democrats don’t push for an investigation into their sabotage of the Iran deal. There is no low too low for the party of Donald Trump.

Sounds perfectly “reasonable.” Not a “stretch” at all.

Unless, of course, you’re a rational, logical, reality-based human being and not a braindead liberal besotted with ideological fervor and possessing a streak of naivete beyond belief.

Nevertheless, the charge is fascinating. In October 1980, some Democrats charged that vice presidential candidate George Bush flew to Tehran in order to plead with the new government not to release the American hostages until after the election. The fact that Bush was right in the middle of a national campaign, followed everywhere by reporters, his every move noted and scrutinized, didn’t appear to matter. The Democratic Congress at the time actually investigated the charges but, of course, they amounted to nothing.

This is one of the first examples of the “October surprise” that both parties have played on each other from time to time. Perhaps the Democrats were going to wait and spring these charges on the GOP in late October.

As it is, the Iranian official offered no proof. He didn’t even tell us if the message was from some back -bench Republican or a presidential candidate. But I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that despite all evidence to the contrary, some liberals actually believe the Holocaust deniers in Tehran.