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A green light to imprison Americans

Biden’s Iran deal sets a horrible precedent

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to reporters at the State Department on Sept. 15. Associated Press/Photo by Alex Brandon

A green light to imprison Americans
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After the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Biden administration just keeps the bad decisions coming.

In a dangerous and consequential move, President Biden agreed to release five Iranian nationals detained in the United States in return for the freedom of five Americans imprisoned unjustly in Iran. The swap occurred yesterday, and, as it stands, the deal is disastrous and risky, but it gets worse.

In addition to the swapping, the deal lifts a freeze on $6 billion in Iranian funds. There is no question what is going on here: Iran has the upper hand and the Biden administration (and thus America) is looking weak.

Even worse, the administration chose to announce this catastrophic deal on the anniversary of 9/11. The timing cannot be worse. While the nation should have been remembering the harms inflected on her by radical Islamists, the Biden administration seemed to ignore the lessons we could have gleaned from it. Secretary of State Antony Blinken informed Congress that he signed “a waiver releasing $6 billion in frozen Iranian oil revenues as part of a deal to bring home five Americans.”

To justify sending billions to the Iranians, Blinken claimed, “Iran will then be permitted to use the funds to buy food, medicine or other humanitarian items allowed under U.S. economic sanctions.” But Iran’s president responded sharply and quickly, insisting that Iran will spend the billions “wherever we need it.” You bet they will.

Undoubtedly, hostage negotiations are complicated and understandably some compromise is always expected. But this is a horrible deal. While it is wonderful that the Americans are returning home, this deal is so bad on many levels that it should be viewed as betrayal of American values and citizens.

It is reckless politically and naïve ideologically.

From a political standpoint, the deal clearly puts an open target on every American’s head. It opens the gate wide for the tyrannical Iranian regime—and many other anti-American tyrannies—to be rewarded for taking more Americans captives. Granted, several former U.S. presidents have executed prisoner swaps. However, this deal is unprecedented in how it yielded to grant dictators billions of dollars, imagining they’d actually use it to help their people.

The world should not be fooled. The first and foremost desire of the Iranian regime is to be a nuclear power

Of course they will not.

You don’t need to consult the distant past—just see how the Iranian regime brutally treated its own people in the protests of last year.

The world should not be fooled. The first and foremost desire of the Iranian regime is to be a nuclear power, and history will record that Biden—like Obama before him—was responsible for easing the situation for the regime by granting it billions of dollars, thus paving the road for its aggressive aspirations.

The naivety is unmatched, and this is a huge political win for the Iranian dictators and another huge failure for Biden in foreign policies.

But the matter is not only political.

U.S. politicians fail to come to terms with the ideological disposition of the Iranian regime. For Iran, commitment to Islam is at the heart of all political ambitions and economic aspirations.

Because of its theological worldview, Iran identifies the United States as the “Great Satan” and vows to erase Israel from the map. These are not fanciful claims, but a clear driving theological force for the Iranians. They must win at all costs, as their triumph is viewed as Islam’s victory over the infidel.

While politicians often lie, the Iranian regime has a unique doctrinal position that allows its leaders to advance through concealment of their goals. According to Shiite Islam, Muslims can lie to accomplish major religious and political goals. The doctrine is called taqiyyah, which means the concealment of one’s conviction.

The only language dictators understand is the language of assertiveness and strength, especially among Arab and Muslim nations. Unfortunately, the Biden administration has proven more than once its severe failure in dealing prudently with international matters, especially in the Middle East. Biden’s failures open gates wide for dictators to advance and thrive.

The Iranian lion has been crippled by sanctions, but Biden thought it time to give the dictators a reviving support. In recent American history, there are probably very few decisions worse than that.

A.S. Ibrahim

A.S. Ibrahim, born and raised in Egypt, holds two PhDs with an emphasis on Islam and its history. He is a professor of Islamic studies and director of the Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has taught at several schools in the United States and the Middle East, and authored A Concise Guide to the Life of Muhammad (Baker Academic, 2022), Conversion to Islam (Oxford University Press, 2021), Basics of Arabic (Zondervan 2021), A Concise Guide to the Quran (Baker Academic, 2020), and The Stated Motivations for the Early Islamic Expansion (Peter Lang, 2018), among others.

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