US-Iran flip-flop drama on hostages remains thorny

Thirty-two years ago, Iran held the US embassy staff hostage for over 444 days coinciding with the so-called Islamic Revolution led by cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The hostage drama which was led by student leaders, including the present Iranian President  Ahmedinejad. The trick had worked for Tehran while it showed the shallow diplomacy by Washington in such situations.

The US embassy staff were released after the reports of illegal money passed hands to reach Contra rebels in Nicaragua surfaced.
The ties have never been restored but Iran has continued the drama of hostage-taking ever after.

Again in Sept. 2007, Kian Tajbakhsh, an Iranian-American urban- planning consultant was detained. Tajbakhsh, who worked for the Open Society Institute, was held in Tehran’s Evin prison since for over five months for allegedly endangering Iran’s national security. His release is still awaited.Hikers Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal were arrested in July 2010 after straying across the border during a hiking trip in
Iraq’s Kurdistan region. Iran said they were working with intelligence services. While Sarah was released three months later, the other two were released this month.
Still another US citizen Reza Taghavi is held by Iran in its prison while the fate of Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who went missing during a visit to Iran in 2007 is still unknown.In turn, Iran alleges that 11 of its citizens are “illegally” detained in the United States, including nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri, who went missing in Saudi Arabia while on pilgrimage to Mecca in 2010.

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