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Over the weekend, Iran released four American prisoners in exchange for seven Iranians. Presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio see the swap as a “dangerous precedent.”
TED CRUZ: This deal is a really problematic deal. And it reflects a pattern we’ve seen in the Obama administration over and over again of negotiating with terrorists. And making deals and trades that endanger U.S. safety and security. This deal, to bring back Americans who were wrongly imprisoned, we release seven terrorists who helped Iran with their nuclear program and we agreed to not prosecute another 14 terrorists for doing the same thing. That’s 21 terrorists helping Iran develop nuclear weapons that they intend to use to try to murder us. And I think it’s a very dangerous precedent because the result of this – every bad actor on earth has been told, “Go capture an American,” – if you want to get terrorists out of jail, capture an American and President Obama is in the let’s make a deal business. That’s a really dangerous precedent.
DONALD TRUMP: Well it’s setting a very, very dangerous precedent. If you look at what’s going on, if you look at the thinking of these people, they’re going to say, “Well wait a minute. If we can do this, let’s get Anna over here for an interview and let’s never let her to come back, okay?”
ANNA KOOIMAN: You’re saying it puts a bounty on Americans’ heads abroad?
TRUMP: If what we’re doing, if anybody that’s anywhere near the region, they’re going to start taking Americans and they’re going to negotiate deals. This administration, they just don’t know what they’re doing. It’s so embarrassing.
MARCO RUBIO: Well first, let me say they’re not prisoners. These people who were being held were hostages. None of them had violated any real laws. In fact, some of them weren’t even charged. But going back to the point, these people were hostages. The people America is releasing, they were convicted in a court of law after due process of helping violate sanctions. The president has pardoned them in exchange for a release of hostages – which had done nothing wrong – and it proves once again, that now nations and enemies of America around the world know that there’s a price for Americans. If you take an American hostage, Barack Obama will cut a deal with you whether it’s [Bowe] Bergdahl, what he did with the Castro brothers and now what he’s done with Iran.
As it turns out, several Americans were kidnapped in Iraq over the weekend.
NICK PATON WALSH: There are potentially these three Americans gone missing. Suggestions may be that it could fall into the hands of pro-Iranian militia. That’s not clear at this stage. What is clear is two of them were Iraqi nationals, one a fully fledged American citizen. They were…