Saturday, September 18, 2010
Iran releases one of three U.S. hikers allegedly captured across border
Tehran insisted this week's release of U.S. hiker Sarah Shourd, imprisoned for more than a year after she and two friends allegedly crossed the border from Iraq illegally, reflected Iran's respect for women and was not an attempt to elicit favorable treatment from the United States. "We have no expectations," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on state-run television, according to Cable News Network (CNN). But there is reason to doubt. More likely, Iran is trying again to tweak "the Great Satan," like the leader of the country's 1979 Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, used to call the United States. That would be typical of Ahmadinejad, who came to power and has stayed in power despite his embarrassingly self-serving and contradictory views. In fact, Ahmadinejad also said, "naturally, morally, the expectation would be that the U.S. government would take a step to release a number of Iranians they took from other countries." Hmmm, that sure sounds like a quid pro quo, doesn't it? Not only that, Ahmadinejad said Shourd had been released after more than a year in prison without trial because Iranians had "a very special respect for women." That would be preposterous if it wasn't so serious. Iran has held Shourd for more than a year out of respect? Ahmadinejad also said he had given U.S. officials a list of Iranians behind held in U.S. prisons, and expected them to be released. That's just what U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said about the two other hikers arrested with Shourd in July 2009. "It would be a very significant humanitarian gesture for the Iranians to release them as well," Clinton said in Washington.