I’d thought of the five Iranians detained in Iraq a few weeks back, in the aftermath of the Iranian elections. It occurred to me then that liberating them would be a way to offer a concrete goodwill gesture to Tehran, thereby providing a bit more liberty of action in terms of offering moral support to the Iranian opposition. According to the Washington Post and the Times of London, they were released today as part of the detainee-release agreement with Baghdad.
Kevin Sullivan wonders if it’s the quid for Iran’s quo of releasing some of the protestors who had been detained over the past few weeks. I wonder if it has more to do with some of the Western nationals Iran has detained. As the Times points out, a French student has been held on espionage charges. And Iason Athanasiadis, a journalist who has contributed to WPR, was just released a few days ago, after having spent three weeks in jail there. (His account of his detention is here.)
Either way, even if these guys were as connected as the U.S. made them out to be, after two years in custody, their diplomatic value probably far outweighed their intelligence value.