News Release

Carter Blocked Abourezk’s Resolution to Hostage Crisis


Former Senator James Abourezk died on Feb. 24 at 92. Jimmy Carter recently entered hospice care.

Abourezk was a maverick member of the senate in the 1970s who challenged corporate power, defended Native Americans and took on the power of the Israel lobby.

In 2002, Abourezk went on a delegation to Baghdad organized by the Institute for Public Accuracy, meeting with the Iraqi leadership. Just after that delegation, the Iraqi government allowed the weapons inspectors, which Bill Clinton had withdrawn in 1998, back into the country. Some hoped the invasion, which took place almost exactly 20 years ago, could be prevented, but George W. Bush proceeded regardless.

After he left the senate in 1979, Abourezk represented the Iranian government. Shortly after the hostages were taken at the U.S. embassy, Abourezk negotiated a “truth for hostages” agreement with Abolhassan Banisadr, then chairman of the Revolutionary Council: The hostages would be released and the senate would hold major hearings on Iranian grievances including the U.S. government’s support for the tyrannical Shah. See video of Abourezk.

However, the Carter administration blocked the deal. Instead, the hostage crisis dragged on for more than a year, Reagan was elected and the hostages were finally released just moments after his inauguration.

Trita Parsi of the Quincy Institute recently reported regarding Iran: “By Caving to Israel, Biden Opens the Door to War.”

Abourezk also founded the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

Jabara is a long-time associate of Abourezk and was president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

SAM HUSSEINI,, @samhusseini

Husseini just wrote the piece “James Abourezk: Radical Senator.” He is senior analyst at IPA.

NORMAN SOLOMON,, @normansolomon
Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and accompanied Abourezk on the 2002 trip to Iraq.