This weekend saw US-Iran relations move to a new level of warmth as the two exchanged prisoners in a gesture of goodwill not seen in decades.
In a historic move, US journalist Jason Rezaian, US Marine veteran Amir Hekmati, and pastor Saeed Abedini were all released and are currently in Switzerland, ready to reunite with their families.
Reactions to the deal have been broad and varied. Proponents have hailed the swap as a historic move in the right direction, while critics have urged caution until the details of the deal have been released.
US Sen. and presidential hopeful Ted Cruz said he “Thanked God” for the release, but that there “may be some problematic elements to the deal.”
President Obama in return pardoned or commuted the sentences of one Iranian and six US-Iranian dual citizens. Obama called it a “one-time gesture”. The individuals were not involved in terrorism or any violent activity, Obama said.
This weekend saw the lifting of international sanctions which have crippled the Iranian economy. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani hailed the lifting of the sanctions as a “new chapter” for Iran.
Whether or not long-term cooperative relations between the US and Iran are viable, the move represents a move toward peace and cooperation between bitter rivals, and the near-term end of a scenario which could have led to much larger conflict in the region.
What’s your opinion? Is this prisoner exchange a good move? Is lifting Iranian sanctions in the best interests of long-term US national security?