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President Hassan Rouhani of Iran is in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly. Before his departure from Iran, he complained about the “unjust and oppressive actions” that have been carried out against Iran and described his visit to the General Assembly as “an opportunity to state and explain the views of nations, especially the great nation of Iran.”

Global attention has been fixated on salvaging the nuclear deal and reducing conflict between the United States and Iran, but the world has ignored the harsh truth that Iran is brazenly using hostage-taking as a key element of its foreign policy.

In the last few years alone, Tehran has wrongly imprisoned citizens of the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, Austria, France, Sweden, the Netherlands and Lebanon. António Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, and the assembled world leaders at the General Assembly must convey a clear message to President Rouhani: Civilized nations do not systematically take and torture hostages for leverage in their diplomatic relations, and such behavior will not be tolerated.

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