TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An American political analyst said the US Republican party’s recent call on Tehran to stall a prisoner swap with Washington was probably an attempt to sabotage the forthcoming US presidential election.
“It would not be at all surprising if the Republican Party of the United States were to attempt to exercise pressure against Iran to avoid releasing American nationals held in Iranian penal institutions until after the 2016 election,” Keith Preston wrote in an article for the Tasnim News Agency on Saturday after 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.”
Following is Preston’s piece for Tasnim:
Did the Republican Party Try to Use the Prisoner Exchanger to Sabotage the US Election?
It would not be at all surprising if the Republican Party of the United States were to attempt to exercise pressure against Iran to avoid releasing American nationals held in Iranian penal institutions until after the 2016 election. There is actually a precedent for this.
It has long been believed by a wide range of knowledgeable people that in 1980 the Republican Party attempted to influence Iran to avoid the release of American embassy personnel that were being held in Iran at the time. The allegation is that the Republican Party was concerned that if then US President Jimmy Carter were to successfully negotiate a deal for the release of the embassy personnel with Iran his chances of reelection to the presidency in the 1980 election would have been assured. The Republican Party’s candidate, future President Ronald Reagan, was campaigning in part on a platform which insisted that the Carter administration was ineffective on foreign policy. If Carter had successfully negotiated the release of the embassy personnel his credibility on foreign policy would have been strengthened significantly. A number of officials from both the American and Iranian governments from that time period have confirmed that the Republican Party sought to sabotage President Carter’s efforts to secure the release of the embassy personnel in order to boost Reagan’s chances to win the US presidency in the 1980 election.
If indeed the Republican Party has sought to prevent the release of American citizens held in Iran presently, this would only be the latest episode in what is likely a long history of the Republican Party engaging in such subterfuge.