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  • Iran Turns American Hikers into Hostages

    American hikers Shane Bauer (L) and Josh Fattal (C) and their translator attend the first session of their trial at the revolutionary court in Tehran, in this February 6, 2011 file picture. Bauer and Fattal, detained in Iran for more than two years, have been found guilty of spying and given sentences of eight years each, Iranian state TV reported on August 20, 2011.

    On Saturday, an Iranian court sentenced two innocent American hikers to eight years in jail for allegedly straying across the Iran–Iraq border two years ago.

    The politicized verdict once again underscores the Islamist regime’s twisted sense of “justice,” which is meted out against Iranians as well as foreigners to advance the interests of a ruthlessly brutal regime. The show trial of the hiker/hostages is one more slap in the face of the Obama Administration, whose eager rush to engage Tehran has produced no tangible results.

    The two American hikers, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, detained in Iran for more than two years, had a court hearing on July 31, the second anniversary of their arrests on charges of illegally entering Iran and spying. They continue to maintain their innocence. The two had been hiking inside Iraq, along with another American, Sarah Shourd, but were reportedly lured over the poorly marked border by Iranian border guards. Shourd was freed on $500,000 bail in November 2010 on humanitarian grounds due to her declining health.

    In addition to its persecution of the American hiker hostages, Tehran has been far from forthcoming about the disappearance of Robert Levinson, a retired FBI investigator who disappeared in Iran in 2007 after meeting with David Belfield, an American convert to Islam who fled to Iran after he assassinated an exiled Iranian opposition leader, Ali Akbar Tabatabai, in 1980 in Bethesda, Maryland.

    The verdict on the American hikers comes on the heels of a series of ominous news about Iran’s accelerating uranium enrichment efforts and robust ballistic missile buildup.

    Iran also remains the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism, continues to support militant groups targeting American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and retains opportunistic tactical ties to al-Qaeda.

    Tehran is now hinting that it wants to kick-start the failed nuclear negotiations, this time on the basis of a Russian initiative that would reduce international sanctions and allow Tehran to engage in more rope-a-dope diplomacy to buy time for its nuclear efforts.

    One would hope that the Obama Administration would not fall yet again for this dilatory diplomatic ploy, especially with at least two American hostages sitting in Iranian jails.

    For more Heritage Foundation publications on Iran, see:


    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to Iran Turns American Hikers into Hostages

    1. Larry Sweeney says:

      In addition to the innocent hikers, please remember Bob Levinson and his family in your thoughts and prayers. They have all been through hell during the last 4 1/2 years. There is every reason to believe that Bob is alive and being held captive. Bob spent nearly half his life as an outstanding Agent for DEA (formerly BNDD) and the FBI. There were none better and he deserves our support. Thank you.

    2. Larry Sweeney says:

      In addition to the innocent hikers, Bob Levinson disappeared 4 1/2 years ago. Bob was a Special Agent for the DEA (formerly BNDD) and the FBI for over a quarter of a century and there were none better. His wife and 7 children have been going through hell since his kidnapping while conducting business as a Private Investigator in the Middle East. Fortunately, there is every reason to believe that he is alive and being held captive. Please continue to remember Bob and his family in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you.

    3. Winston says:

      But do you realize that these people are anti-Israeli socialist opposed to US foreign policy in the region? I have no sympathy for these people….

    4. Dixie Patriot says:

      Obama would handle this with the peace loving Muslims, however he is pre-occupied with running guns to the Mexican drug cartels, reviewing (denying) legal deportation orders, and supporting civil war in Libya and Syria.

    5. Roy P Pilkey says:

      Why am I having Deja' Vous here? Are they bringing out an embalmbed Reagan? Peanut farmers everywhere are worried, does Obama have a brother that drinks beer? Berlin wall went down, now the Mexico wall? How do you say "Tear down that wall" in spanish? What will be attached to the new "nomics"?

    6. Winston says:

      Leftists dont have my sympathy

    7. Rick says:

      Indeed, these guys may be US citizens, but they are no friends of the USA; devout leftists. Devoted to racial/ethnic politics; all about division of our country, definitely not "E PLURIBUS UNUM".

    8. susan ritter says:

      Why havent we sent Jimmy Carter to Iran to secure these hostages release

    9. Joel D says:

      I thought Ramblin' Ronnie Paul said we didn't need to be concerned about Iran. I guess when there's no moral basis for government, anything goes and all nations are equal. Iran's a threat, they need to be neutralized, no matter what the Progressives and Paulines say.

    10. Craig says:

      There is something wrong here. The "Hiker" story just doesn't add up. Who goes "hiking" on the border between a hot war and a country covertly fueling the opposition? A group of Americans plops themselves between a Sunni Muslim insurgency against a Shia Muslim government that is being aided by the Shia Muslim government on the other side of the border as tourists and go "hiking"? Somebody is not telling us what happened and until they do I think these are the dumbest tourists on the planet and deserve no sympathy or even our attention. Stupidity should hurt and in this case apparently it will for eight years which is about the right punishment for such idiocy.

      • clint says:

        I completely agree.

        Evidently, the hikers were forewarned by the USG not to go on their stroll on the Iraq-Iran border:

        “S2 ASSESSMENT: The lack of coordination on the part of these hikers, particularly after being forewarned, indicates an intent to agitate and create publicity regarding international policies on Iran.”

        Sounds like to me they were immature morons. Though they may well be innocent, I have no proof of that.

    11. Roger S. says:

      "Twisted sense of justice", you claim? No, No, No!
      They have none, not toward each other, and certainly not for "outsiders."
      And, their definition keeps changing to suit their momentary designs.

      We should have taken them apart, militarily, back in 1979 when they declared war on us.
      The opportunity was golden, but
      Jimmi (ny Cricket) Carter didn't have the (pea)nuts for it!
      We need to stop making such strategic mistakes over and over, and over….
      No sense "engaging" with people who only want to do us harm,
      no sense talking to people who don't want a dialogue!

    12. Ben says:

      I hate those socialists rabble rabble sqawk sqawk. Get off my back Obama! Why can't the government stick to the constitution and focus on what matters: stopping Gays from marrying, increasing payroll taxes for anyone who earns a paycheck and safeguarding the billions of dollars in oil subsidies for Exxon–oh and prisons because a country with 5% of the world population is doing something right when its citizens account for 25% of all people living behind bars worldwide.

      It makes me shudder to listen to you woodland hicks use words like "socialism" without really knowing what it is.

      Oops, I meant to say if the government would just keep taxes on dividends and capital gains low, then you all would be able to buy health insurance for your kids, right?

      Damn leftists! It's treason I say! Now let's insist our public schools teach about how we really got here: on an ark, with two of every animal less than 10,000 years ago. Take back the competitive edge those socialist commie kids are gaining with their Obama science! GOP USA GOD! Tea Party rabble rabble sqawk sqawk!

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