A Fox News commentator blithely dismissed the release of four American prisoners from Iran over the weekend as insignificant, saying the United States gave up way too much in return.
“We gave away the farm for the Starbucks gift card,” said Sebastian Gorka, a Threat Knowledge Group vice president and contributor to the right-wing Breitbart blog, during an appearance on Hannity on Tuesday.
In reference to a comment Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio made about using American hostages as a bargaining chip, Fox host Sean Hannity asked Gorka, “Did we now send a message to the world, take an American hostage and you’ll get what you want?”
“Absolutely,” Gorka replied. “We sent a very clear message that this nation, which is the greatest state sponsor of terrorism for the last 30 years, has carte blanche…We’ve sent a message, ‘Iran, you can get away with murder.’”
— FOX & Friends (@foxandfriends) January 19, 2016
Fox opinion writers previously decried the Iran nuclear deal for abandoning the American prisoners, who include the Washington Post Tehran Bureau Chief Jason Rezaian, as well as a pastor, former marine, and retired FBI agent.
“Who in their right mind would negotiate in good faith with an enemy who wants to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth and whose citizens are marching in the streets shouting death to America?” Todd Starnes, the host of Fox News & Commentary wrote in an op-ed in July. “Lost in this diplomatic debacle is the fate of four Americans held hostage by the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
The American prisoner release emerged as a sideline agreement that took place during the negotiations of a comprehensive nuclear agreement reached in July. On Monday, three of the American prisoners to be released from Iran arrived in Germany en route home to the U.S.
The deal, which came after one year of secret negotiations and involved several countries, “accelerated” the prisoner swap, according to Secretary of State John Kerry.
In exchange for the released Americas, the United States pardoned or commuted the sentences of one Iranian and six dual U.S.-Iran citizens.
Over the weekend, international nuclear sanctions on Iran were lifted. The U.S. imposed fresh sanctions on 11 Iranian companies and individuals it said were linked to the country’s missile program. The deal has also been credited with helping to avert an international incident after U.S. Navy patrol boats veered into Iranian waters last week.
“This is a good day because once again we’re seeing what’s possible with international diplomacy,” President Obama said on Sunday. “For decades, our differences meant our governments almost never spoke — ultimately, that did not advance America’s interests.”