|Iranian hostages can be freed through talks with West’s 3 proxies||
The practice of taking hostages is a serious crime that violates all accepted humanitarian principles.
The kidnapping of 48 Iranian nationals in Damascus in early August by an armed terrorist group is a clear example of this issue.
Senior commanders of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have repeatedly declared that they will free the Iranian nationals if the Iranian government uses its influence over Damascus to obtain the release of jailed rebels. The fact that the FSA is trying to take advantage of the friendly relations between Iran and Syria is nothing new. However, the group must understand that the rebel prisoners are being detained by the Syrian government and the authority to release them is in the hands of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad not Iran.
The FSA has claimed that it is fighting for democracy and the establishment of a free and humanitarian society. However, the threats to kill the Iranian citizens have clearly revealed the true nature of the group to the Syrian people. What would the fate of Syria be if it came under the rule of such terrorists?
Certain Western governments and their regional proxies, namely Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, continue to support the FSA and other opposition groups in Syria. Iran is strongly opposed to the policy adopted by these governments and regards it as the main cause of the intensification of violence in Syria. However, the Iranian government should engage in talks with these governments to obtain the release of the hostages.
Even if the FSA kills the Iranian nationals, it will have no effect on the friendly relations between Iran and Syria. But it would seriously harm diplomatic relations between Iran and the three governments supporting the insurgency in Syria. And if the hostages are killed, it would encourage terrorist groups in other countries to use the same methods to realize their malevolent objectives.
Sabah Zanganeh is a political analyst based in Tehran.
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