AMERICAN HIKERS IN IRAN: From Trio to Amanda Knox, the Question No-one Asked by Adeyemi Oshunrinade


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The two remaining American hikers Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, were released last week by the Iranian government after spending two years in Iran’s Evin Prison. The two were arrested along with Sarah Shourd who was freed a year ago. The arrest came while the trios were hiking as they claimed, along an unmarked border that Iran shares with Iraq and were accused of spying for the United States.

On arrival to the U.S. after posting a million dollar bail paid by Oman, Shane and Josh arrived to a somewhat hero’s welcome. Joined by Sarah Shourd Shane’s fiance, the trios are welcome by their families, friends and the entire nation willing to spread the red carpet. The trios were quick to hold a press conference telling their experience, expressing their anger towards the Iranian regime and their criticism of the U.S. government whose actions and human rights violations they claimed, prompted hostility towards them in Iran.

The concern of this writing is not to vilify the trios and it is not to glorify their actions so far but rather, to show the viewpoint of the American society and the double standards evident in the way of thinking. Soon on arrival, the nation welcomed the trios with open arms, after all they have just been released by a government the U.S. love to hate however, no one including the media asked why the trios were in the region in the first place? Were they really hikers as they claimed? and why the border between Iraq and Iran of all the places they could have gone hiking?

To answer these questions, we must revisit the history of the relations between Iran and the U.S. In 1953 the CIA helped orchestrate overthrow of Iran’s popular Prime Minister Mohammed Massdegh, this action help restore to power the Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. In 1979 a revolt by the Iranians forces U.S backed Shah to flee, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni returns from exile and becomes supreme religious guide. Fundamentalist students demanded Washington hand over the Shah for prosecution; they later seized the U.S embassy in Tehran holding the embassy staffs hostage for 444 days.

As of 1980 the U.S. cuts ties with Tehran seizing Iranian assets and bans trade with the Iranian government. Covert action ordered by then President Jimmy Carter to release the hostages was futile when helicopter crashes and 8 U.S. servicemen were killed. The hostages were later released in 1981 after Jimmy Carter stepped down. In 1988 U.S. warship Vincennes “mistakenly” shoots down Iranian passenger plane over the gulf killing 290 people aboard.

In 1995 President Clinton issues Executive order preventing U.S. companies from investing in Iranian oil and gas and trade with the Islamic nation was also banned. Iran was later accused of supporting terrorism and trying to possess nuclear arsenal. In 2002 before the invasion of Iraq, President Bush declare Iran, North Korea and Iraq “axis of evil.”.

As of 2006 multilateral talks between Iran and the U.S failed and the U.S. spearheaded a sanction regime on Iran; Sanctions were imposed on Iran’s sensitive nuclear materials and assets of individuals and companies were frozen. In 2007 4 years after the invasion of Iraq, the U.S accuses Iran of instigating violence in Iraq by supplying militants with weapons.

In 2008 five Iranian boats perpetrated hostile action against U.S Navy ships in the Strait of Harmuz. However, in 2009 the trios chose the border between Iraq and Iran as the best place of all the places in the world to go hiking. How true is that? Looking at the time line of the relations between Iran and the U.S. it is obvious no one in his right senses would have made such a decision. Iraq has been a war zone since 2003 and the nuclear war between the U.S. and Iran is still ongoing so, why would one aware of such situations choose such a place for hiking.

So far, nothing on record show the trios are American soldiers so, what business do they have in the region? The State department has a list on its website of countries where Americans can and cannot go; Iran is one of the nations where Americans are warned not to go because of the hostile relations between both nations so, how come the trios were not privy of such?

The American viewpoint is narrowly focused and in most cases not broad in cases involving our own; these are question people should ask but are not asking because here, we are dealing with a government hostile to “our nation.” Just like the trios, Amanda Knox has come home after her appeal was successful and the society has welcome her with the red carpet. She is now shopping for a book deal; However, important questions as to how she got cut up in a murder will never be asked. The issue is why Amanda of all the American students in Perugia Italy? what are the facts of the case that are yet untold and why is she implicated if she had no hand in the homicide of the British national? Who is the victim Amanda or the innocent girl murdered?

Irrespective of the thinking of a curious mind, the red carpets awaits and the celebrity status is handed freely; already there are talks of book deals, the trios have indicated their interest to tell their story in a book and then it may be straight to Hollywood. It is a pop culture of making a celebrity out of controversial and deviant behavior. Whether the trios and Amanda Knox, are what they claimed to be or otherwise, the society shall know the facts someday.
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Categories: General misconduct, Jailed Hikers, Journalism and politics, Politics

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