Iran Takes New American Hostage

Three things.

1. The US should take a hard line against its citizens traveling to Iran. That's for their own protection. An American in Iran is a potential hostage. And since we haven't yet mastered the Rooseveltian art of declaring, “Perdicaris Alive or Raisuli Dead”, we're vulnerable.

2. Iran is testing us. Failing that test would be dangerous and will mean an escalation of violence on other fronts.

3. One potential trigger for this may have been the planned withdrawal from Syria. That doesn't mean the withdrawal is wrong, but that Iran may see it as a capitulation, even though it has nothing to do with Iran, and may be probing to see if we're vulnerable now.

That's how terrorists operate. And that's why it's important to forcefully push back when they do.

Iran confirmed Wednesday it is holding U.S. Navy veteran Michael R. White at a prison in the country, making him the first American known to be detained under President Donald Trump’s administration.

White’s detention adds new pressure to the rising tension between Iran and the U.S., which under Trump has pursued a maximalist campaign against Tehran that includes pulling out of its nuclear deal with world powers.

Although the circumstances of White’s detention remain unclear, Iran in the past has used its detention of Westerners and dual nationals as leverage in negotiations.

The semi-official Tasnim news agency, believed to be close to the country’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, reported the confirmation, citing Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi.

“An American citizen was arrested in the city of Mashhad some time ago and his case was conveyed to the U.S administration on the first days” of his incarceration, Ghasemi was quoted as saying.

The New York Times has quoted White’s mother saying she learned three weeks ago that her son is alive and being held at an Iranian prison. His arrest was first reported by IranWire, an online news service run by one-time Iran detainee Maziar Bahari, which interviewed a former Iranian prisoner who said he met White at Vakilabad Prison in Mashhad in October. Mashhad is about 95 kilometers (60 miles) east of Tehran, Iran’s capital.

The State Department said it was aware of reports of an American citizen’s arrest, but was otherwise unable to comment.ite’s mother, Joanne White, had told the Times that her 46-year-old son, who lives in Imperial Beach, California, went to Iran to see his girlfriend and had booked a July 27 flight back home to San Diego via the United Arab Emirates. She filed a missing person report with the State Department after he did not board the flight. She added that he had been undergoing treatment for a neck tumor and has asthma.

The question is what do we do next. It's a perfect time for, at the least, further sanctions. But that probably won't do the trick.

We do have some other options for hitting Iran on other fronts without a full scale war. One option is defying the Iran/Qatar lobby's push for surrender to the Iranian Houthi terror front in Yemen, and actually carry out some strikes. Another would be defunding Iran's political puppets in Baghdad and Beirut, while signaling that we might consider action to destabilize those regimes.