If this is true, it is beyond despicable. Per Talking Points Memo:

“In the course of the talks for exchanging prisoners, the Republican rivals of the current US administration who claim to be humanitarians and advocates of human rights sent a message telling us not to release these people [American prisoners] and continue this process [of talks] until the eve of US presidential elections,” Shamkhani said, according to Tasnim.

“We acted upon our independent resolve and moved the process forward,” Shamkhani said.

Representatives of the party that constantly proclaims its Christianity and superior morality, the party whose Presidential contenders are constantly beating their chests and bragging about being strong enough to protect America and its citizens, were evidently willing to forgo honor and patriotism–not to mention basic humanity– in pursuit of partisan electoral advantage.

This claim by the Iranians is believable because it is so consistent with the behavior of Congressional Republicans ever since Barack Obama entered the White House. Absolutely nothing has mattered to the GOP except obstructing and diminishing this President–certainly not the health or safety or best interests of the American public  (as we are seeing in the wake of Scalia’s death, they are even refusing to discharge their constitutional duty to vote on a successor). But even for the sleaziest among them, a willingness to leave four American citizens in Iranian prisons for many months more than necessary in order to score political points is almost beyond comprehension.

Evidently, the ascendance of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz is not an anomaly. Appalling as they are, they really do represent today’s GOP.

As I recently wrote elsewhere, Trump, especially, is what happens when politics becomes just another team sport–when campaigns are only about winning, whatever the cost in integrity.

When your sole political ambition is to win, when the only criterion for acceptable behavior is that it gives your “team” an advantage, is it any wonder that your party’s base chooses a self-described “winner”? When you have created a political culture that sneers at nuance and paints every policy dispute as a stark contest between “makers” and “takers,” is it any wonder that your voters see wealth as evidence of superiority? When you have countered even the mildest criticism of U.S. policy with exaltations of “American exceptionalism,” is it any wonder that your base embraces a xenophobic blowhard?

Trump truly is the id of today’s GOP.