The buzz generated by the nuclear deal between Iran and the six world powers has yet to die down. Even before the deal was finalized the Washington Institute’s public statement on US. Policy toward the Iran nuclear negotiations set benchmarks which were clearly not met, and as time goes by the criticism grows due to the lack of full disclosure. With key senators demanding to see the “secret annexes”, fearing that “key flaws” in the deal are still hidden away.
In the US, however, supporters of the deal are battling to defend the deal, challenged by the fact that some of the key criticisms of the deal were even confirmed by the President himself, as pointed out by Washington Post article. Opinions in the media weighed the pros and cons of approving, amending or rejecting the deal. Warnings of “disaster” could be found if the deal is approved – and if it isn’t (“loss of credibility”). Conflicting polls published in LA Times showed that a large majority are skeptical. Perhaps one of the reasons for the skepticism is the issue of the unaddressed captives.
With the debate over the deal now raging in Washington as Congress prepares to take it on, both sides have also addressed the deal’s impact – or lack thereof – on efforts to secure the release of Westerners held captive in Iran. While one former Iranian hostage weighed in to say rejecting the deal would have a “devastating” effect on current hostages, and while US President Barack Obama said this week that the US will not “relent” until “unjustly” imprisoned Americans return home, others saw the deal as “no triumph” for the captives, one of whom has been held in Iran since 2007, with little information emerging on his whereabouts and condition since then.
On Wednesday, both Iranian and US sources confirmed that the captives had been discussed around the negotiating table continuously, but that the issue was eventually excluded from the final nuclear accord, most likely for fear that insistence on it would derail the months-long talks.
For Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, held in solitary confinement for much of the past year, the debate is hardly theoretical. The deal holds little benefit for the four American captives. As Rezaian marks the one-year anniversary of his incarceration this month, the knowledge that his plight has found no resolution, even as the intricate nuclear issue (seemingly) has, is bound to bring him (or any Westerner unlucky enough to end up in prison in Iran) little benefit and no comfort.