Deal to Free American Hostages and Failure to Punish Iran Seen As Setting a Dangerous Precedent

An Israeli expert on international terrorism said today that the deal entered into to free the 52 American hostages and the failure to punish Iran for seizing them more than a year ago, may have set “a dangerous precedent”. Dr. Ariel Merari, a researcher at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for Strategic Studies, nevertheless welcomed the release of the Americans.

“I can fully understand the rejoicing of the families of the hostages,” he said. “But from the national and international point of view, it may serve as a dangerous precedent for other would-be kidnappers or hijackers, either individuals, organizations or governments.”

Merari said that there has been a decline in hijacking and hostage-taking in the last 5-6 years mainly because countries have refused to grant asylum to the hijackers for fear of international sanctions. But the Iranian government was itself involved in the seizure and holding of the Americans and it succeeded in its objectives,” or at least has escaped without punishment,” he said.

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