November 26, 2013

Former hostages react to Iran’s nuclear deal

For many of the 66 Americans who were held hostage for 444 days at the start of the Iranian revolution, trusting the regime in Tehran feels like a mistake.

By Matthew Barakat
The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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In this Nov. 9, 1979, photo, one of the hostages being held at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran is displayed to the crowd, blindfolded and with his hands bound, outside the embassy.

The Associated Press

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In this July 20, 1979, photo, the first three hostages released from the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, arrive at Rhein-Main U.S. Air Force base in Germany. From the top of the steps are Marine Sgt. William Quarles, Marine Cpl. Ladell Maples and Kathy Gross.

The Associated Press / U.S. Air Force

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For other hostages, though, their experience has led them to the conclusion that attempting to negotiate and expecting Iran to live up to its end of the bargain is a losing proposition. Sgt. Rodney “Rocky” Sickmann, 56, of St. Louis, then a Marine sergeant, remembers clearly being told by his captors that their goal was to use the hostages to humiliate the American government, and he suspects this interim deal is in that vein.

“It just hurts. We negotiated for 444 days and not one time did they agree to anything ... and here they beg for us to negotiate and we do,” he said. “It’s hard to swallow. We negotiate with our enemies and stab our allies in the back. That doesn’t seem good.”

The deal may also have a direct effect on some of the hostages who have long fought to sue the Iranian government for damages. The new agreement calls for $4.2 billion in frozen Iranian assets to be released, which could make it more difficult to collect a judgment on any successful suit.

“And what do we get out of it?” asked Barnes. “A lie saying, ‘We’re not going to make plutonium.’ It’s a win-win for them and it’s a lose-lose for us.”

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