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Rep. Roskam: Iran Prisoner Swap 'Foolish Enterprise,' Sets Bad Precedent

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By    |   Friday, 22 Jan 2016 04:20 PM

The recent swap of prisoners between the United States and Iran was a "foolish enterprise" that sets a bad precedent, U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam tells Newsmax TV.

"This is really, really troubling. It's a bad trend and it also creates the impression of a moral equivalency between these prisoners who were exchanged," Roskam, an Illinois Republican, said Friday on "The Steve Malzberg Show."

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"There is no doubt in the mind of anybody who's listening that the people who were held in Iran, the Americans held in Iran were innocent and that they were unjustly held.

"Five innocents are traded for seven people who were criminals and additional 14 people who should be pursued by the police now have the certainty that international police forces will not be pursuing them. What kind of an absurd trade is that? What kind of a moral equivalency is that?"

Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, accused of spying, Pastor Saeed Abedini, jailed for spreading the Christian faith, and Amir Hekmati, a Marine veteran seized while visiting relatives, were traded for Iranians said to be non-violent offenders who broke the trade embargo with Tehran.

But Roskam doesn't buy it.

"To denigrate one for the other. It's a foolish enterprise all the way around," he told Malzberg.

Roskam, chair of GOP Israel Caucus and Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism, said he remains troubled by the Obama administration's frosty relations with Israel.

"I'm really, really troubled of the notion that the U.S. Ambassador to Israel [Dan] Shapiro is essentially questioning the Israeli commitment to peace. I mean, you've got one country in this whole region that has offered various concessions over the past several decades and that's Israel," Roskam said.

"They've gotten very little for it. So this false claim and false narrative out there that we've heard from Ambassador Shapiro needs to be corrected and we've got to make sure folks know, the Israelis have come to the table time and time and time again.

"And you don't hear this same sort of outrage and concern about the Palestinians from the administration. Very little in terms of its denunciation of attacks in Israel of civilians of late. I just thought it was wrong-footed and needed to be corrected."

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The recent swap of prisoners between the United States and Iran was a foolish enterprise that sets a bad precedent, U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam tells Newsmax TV.
Peter Roskam, Iran, Prisoner Swap, Bad Precedent
Friday, 22 Jan 2016 04:20 PM
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