Americans who were held hostage by the Iranians in 1979 know their captors well and warn that they are not to be trusted.
Jerusalem and Washington have been locking horns over past months over a pending deal between the P5+1 powers and Iran regarding its nuclear aspirations. The Obama administration is determined to pursue the diplomatic venue with hopes of finalizing a signed deal with Iran, while Israel fears Iran’s genocidal intentions and believes that only strong sanctions or a military option can stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.
Israel’s stance has been seconded by individuals who have dealt with the Iranian regime first-hand and warn that they cannot be trusted.
For 444 days, 52 Americans were held prisoner in the US Embassy by regime-backed student revolutionaries. Now, the former hostages are speaking out against a deal with Iran, Fox News reports.
“I think it’s very naive because the Iranians talk out of both sides of their mouth,” Clair Cortland Barnes, 69, who was a 34-year-old communications officer when taken hostage, told Fox News. “Their actions betray their conversations. Their conversations say one thing and then they do something else.”
“They have an agenda that is to wipe out Israel and take over America,” he added.
David Roeder, a former US Air Force lieutenant colonel who was attached to the US Embassy in Tehran when it was overrun, told Fox News the details of the deal that have so far leaked out – details that the US has not confirmed – which give the impression that Iran is being rewarded for bad behavior.”
“It doesn’t seem like this is a good deal for the US,” said Roeder. “It seems as if we are paying a lot of money and not getting much of a return.”
Donald Cooke, who was the embassy’s vice consul when taken hostage, said Iran must own up to the criminal violence in which the current regime was forged.
“If they want to negotiate, they have to deal with the issue of the hostage-taking, which the current government is still responsible for,” said Cooke, 61. “The Iranian government has to take responsibility or you can’t take them seriously in any negotiations.”
Regarding the Israeli prime minister’s address on Tuesday, “Benjamin Netanyahu had a good point when he spoke to Congress,” Cooke said. “Any negotiation should not be about technical issues. The negotiation should be about changing behavior, and it is not.”
Iran Must Be Held Accountable
Former US Marine Rodney Sickmann, 57, was a 22-year-old employee guarding the embassy and, like other survivors, says that Iran has never taken responsibility for its violent actions.
“They have never been held accountable for what they’ve done to us,” Sickmann told Fox News, recounting how he was tied to a chair for days while held by the Iranians. “How do you trust a government that publicly says Israel needs to be eliminated? Anyone should understand why Israel needs to be concerned.”
Not all of the surviving hostages believe participating in talks with Iran is a bad idea.
Kathryn Koob, who was in Tehran serving as director of the Iran-America society, a non-profit organization established by the US government to strengthen educational and community ties between the two countries, said talking is better than not talking.
“I am glad to see that is happening,” said Koob, one of just two females held hostage by the Iranians. “I think it’s terribly important to engage with all countries in the world, including Iran.”
The US has not had formal diplomatic relations with Iran since the crisis, but Koob said the talks were a heartening sign.
“Diplomacy does not mean agreement,” Koob said. “I think discussion is better than doing nothing. You can’t accomplish anything by not speaking to a country and pretending they’re not there.”
A recent Gallup poll showed that the vast majority of Americans, 77 percent, say potential Iranian nukes are a “critical threat.”
By: United with Israel Staff
(With files from Fox News)
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