May 12 2015
WASHINGTON – On the heels of passing the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, the U.S. Senate today called for the release of all American hostages being held by the Iranian government.
“The regime in Tehran has a trust problem. If Iran wants the international community to believe that it is prepared to be an honest negotiator, one way to prove that is to immediately release all the hostages they are holding in horrible conditions under false charges,” Boozman said.
S. Con. Res. 16, introduced by U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) and cosponsored by Boozman, states that the Government of the Iran should immediately release U.S. citizens Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati, and Jason Rezaian. The resolution also calls on Iran to cooperate with U.S. efforts to locate and return Robert Levinson. It also states that the United States Government should undertake every effort using every diplomatic tool at its disposal to secure their immediate release.
“These Americans are political prisoners of one of the world’s most abusive regimes. They are being held under harsh conditions with little to no legal representation,” Boozman said. “The President is so eager to work with the Iranians on a nuclear deal, yet he has done little to secure the freedom of these individuals who are being held against their will simply because they have an American passport.”
Pastor Saeed Abedini, a dual Iranian-American citizen, has been imprisoned in Iran for over a year in challenging conditions, simply because of his Christian faith.
Amir Hekmati has been imprisoned in Iran longer than any other American. A Marine Corps veteran, Amir has been imprisoned since January 2012 on false charges of espionage.
Jason Rezaian, an American-Iranian journalist currently employed as The Washington Post bureau chief in Tehran, remains in custody at Evin Prison, a detention center in Tehran known for housing political prisoners and intellectuals. He too is being held under false charges of espionage.
Robert Levinson, a retired FBI agent, vanished after traveling to the Iranian island of Kish in March 2007 and is one of the longest-held U.S. citizens in history. The Iranian government has said it is not holding Levinson and does not know his whereabouts, but has done nothing to help the U.S. locate him.