🇺🇸 Iran Exchange

Plus, a painting's unexpected ROI.

The Flag

Good morning, and happy Thursday. Lego has released Braille versions of its famous toy bricks which teach the Braille alphabet, marking the first time the product has been released to the general public.

Also, a painting purchased from a New Hampshire thrift store for $4 was auctioned for $191,000 when it turned out to be a long-lost work by N.C. Wyeth.

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INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Iran Exchange

On Tuesday, five Americans freed from Iran made an emotional return to the United States ending their imprisonment "nightmare", a day after they were swapped for five Iranians held in the U.S. and the unfreezing of $6 billion in Iranian funds.

Reporting from the Right: Americans released in Iran prisoner exchange deal land in US (FOX News)

Reporting from the Left: Americans freed from Iran make emotional return to the U.S. after prisoner swap (NBC News)

From The Flag: The prisoner exchange, while not formally linked to stalled nuclear talks between the U.S. and Iran, comes against a backdrop of tensions that routinely push the two countries toward a potential military confrontation. Here’s what both sides are saying.

RIGHT-LEANING SENTIMENT

This Was a Bad Deal

  • According to Senator Tom Cotton, this deal will allow Iran to pay for more bombs, drones, and terrorist attacks that will kill Americans.

  • Through lies, deception, and secrecy, the Biden administration will get away with rewarding a hostile regime.

  • This deal goes against longstanding American policy to not negotiate with terrorists, and Iran can’t be trusted with this money.

Biden’s horrible Iran deal will lead to more hostage taking Sen. Tom Cotton, FOX News: “This payment is not only unwise, it’s also unfair. Imagine the message this sends to the other families whose loved ones are being held captive abroad. Either the administration has to extend its unwise policy to the rest of the globe, or acknowledge its hypocrisy. And of course, we have just delivered $6 billion to the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, a nation that attacked American forces over 83 times since Joe Biden took office, and the new home of Al Qaeda’s leadership. This money will pay for more bombs, drones, and terrorist attacks that will kill Americans and our allies. It may also be used to accelerate and fortify Iran’s nuclear program. The administration assures us that this money will only be used to build hospitals, roads and bridges. … It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the ayatollahs will likely shift those newly available dollars toward their military and security forces.”

The Latest Biden Iran Deal Is as Bad as You’d Expect Shay Katiri and Andrew Ghalili, National Review: “The agreement requires the Islamic Republic to use the funds only for humanitarian purposes, and it entrusts Qatar to be an honest guardian of this clause. But Qatar, the Islamic Republic’s fellow fundamentalist, Jew-hating state sponsor of terrorism, is an untrustworthy partner. Moreover, money is fungible. In fact, Ebrahim Raisi, the president of the Islamic Republic, told CNN’s Lester Holt on Tuesday that his regime will use the money as it wishes to and without constraints. … In comparison, during the administration of President Donald Trump, the Islamic Republic agreed to release one U.S. citizen in exchange for one of its agents held in a U.S. prison. An honest journalist would ask the administration about the disparity between the two agreements, and why the current administration made much greater concessions. The only two explanations are that either the current administration is far worse at diplomatic negotiations or that there are secret, side agreements.”

One more opinion piece from the Right: President Biden WILL negotiate with Iran’s terrorists Editorial Board, New York Post

LEFT-LEANING SENTIMENT

Mixed: Cycle of Hostage-Taking Continues vs. This Was the Right Thing to Do

  • The deal is likely to incentivize other hostile regimes to continue taking American hostages who are looking to extort money out of us.

  • This was a high price to pay, but it was necessary, and it is the responsibility of the commander-in-chief to protect American citizens.

  • “Joe Biden faced a dilemma that has confounded his predecessors in the White House — how to bring Americans home without inviting more hostage-taking.”

The Iran prisoner deal continues a miserable cycle of hostage-taking Editorial Board, Washington Post: “Left unsaid is that these regimes see hostages as a currency to be traded for future gain, a dirty trafficking in humans by governments… The harsh truth is that rewarding hostage-taking breeds more of the same. Rogue states clang the jail door shut and wait for the next payoff, and they almost never suffer consequences for stealing people off the street. The best deterrent would be for the United States and other nations to refuse to negotiate for the release of such hostages. But that has proved unattractive for U.S. officials, who have struck unbalanced deals to free innocent Americans from foreign cells. Such decisions can only inspire a mix of understanding and regret. Optimists might regard the latest deal as a prelude to a thaw in the hostility between the United States and Iran. Yet it should also remind Americans of why they should treat Iran with extreme caution.”

The high price of freeing US hostages from Iran was worth it Peter Bergen, CNN: “Since the highest responsibility of the US commander in chief is the protection of American citizens, Biden was right to approve the Iran deal. Consider that four of the Americans released on Monday were held in the notorious Evin prison, where torture is common, according to Amnesty International. … Of course, making a deal with a regime such as the one in Tehran risks what economists term “moral hazard” since any deal may only incentivize the regime to seize other Americans. That said, the publicity around these kind of prisoner swaps must surely act as a deterrent for Americans with any plans to travel to countries like Iran. And in the future, it would seem a sensible policy prescription that travel websites echo the US government’s warnings that any American who has plans to go to countries such as Iran, Russia or Venezuela would be taking a real risk of being wrongfully detained.”

FLAG THIS

One Poll Reveals Americans Not in Favor

Fifty-five percent of likely voters said last week they do not approve of the prisoner swap in exchange for the $6 billion in frozen assets, according to a poll commissioned by the Senate Opportunity Fund, a conservative nonprofit.

Just 28% of the 800 national voters polled said they support the prisoner deal, with 17 percent saying they have no opinion. Of those who opposed the deal, 33% strongly opposed it, while 22 percent said they "somewhat disapprove" (The Washington Free Beacon).

Where do you stand on this exchange with Iran?

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WATERCOOLER

Benedict Does Treason, State of Travel, The Long Night

A 1776 portrait of Benedict Arnold by Thomas Hart

On This Day in 1780: During the American Revolution, American General Benedict Arnold meets with British Major John Andre to discuss handing over West Point to the British, in return for the promise of a large sum of money and a high position in the British army. The plot was foiled and Arnold, a former American hero, became synonymous with the word “traitor.”

Today I learned the asteroid impact that wiped out most of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago sparked two years of darkness.

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