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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Staff Editorial

Newly freed US hikers were irresponsible

After being held captive in an Iranian prison for over two years, Americans Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattall were finally released on Sept. 21 and arrived on US soil four days later.

The two were originally sentenced to eight years in an Iranian prison, but were set free after their bails — approximately $1 million — were paid by Oman. A third member of their party, Sarah Shourd, was released in September 2010.

After enduring a nightmarish experience, the two men will have to start the difficult task of re-acquainting themselves to the lives they knew before their imprisonment. While it is a relief that this situation has been resolved without further escalation, just what exactly were Bauer, Fattall and Shourd trying to accomplish by hiking across the landscape of a country they knew they were not welcome in?

Exploring a country that is occupied by US troops and bordered by a nation that has a history of unfriendly relations with the US is not a wise idea for a vacation. One must consider Iran’s constant search for bargaining chips in their fight against the West as a warning.

During their captivity, Bauer and Fattall came to the obvious conclusion that their American citizenship was the key motive behind their sustained incarcerations.

“The only explanation for our prolonged detention is the 32 years of mutual hostility between America and Iran,” Bauer said to reporters at a news conference in a Manhattan hotel.

“We were convicted of espionage because we are American. It’s that simple. No evidence was ever presented against us.”

Knowing this, they should have realized the whole ordeal could have been avoided with a simple solution — refrain from making a trek to a war zone.

There is nothing wrong with having a desire to travel, as long as it is done responsibly. By voluntarily placing themselves in harm’s way, these hikers unwittingly caused extra tension in the already strained relationship between the US and Iran.

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