Senators To Obama: Demand Release Of Americans Held In Iran

By  //  March 10, 2015

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Marco Rubio
Marco Rubio

Washington, D.C. U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) today led a group of 19 Republican senators in urging the Obama Administration to demand the unconditional release of American citizens unjustly imprisoned in Iran.

In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, the senators highlighted the cases of three American citizens who are languishing in Iranian jails, in addition to former FBI Agent Robert Levinson, a Floridian who disappeared eight years ago today in Iranian territory while on a business trip. Levinson is one of the longest held American citizens in history. The senators urged Secretary Kerry to discuss these cases in his communications with Iran and demand their unconditional release.

“It is unacceptable that as the United States engages with Iran, human rights violations at the hands of Iranian officials go unchecked and Americans languish in Iranian jail cells,” the senators wrote. “We urge you to discuss these imprisoned Americans and demand their unconditional release as you engage in discussion with Iranian officials.”

“The Iranian government, which is unjustly punishing Mr. Rezaian, Pastor Abedini, and Mr. Hekmati and refusing to assist the search for Mr. Levinson, must be held accountable for its actions,” the senators added. “Once again, Iran’s government is showing they will spare no means to stifle dissent and use innocent Americans as political pawns.”

Joining Rubio and Kirk were Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Mike Crapo (R-ID), James Risch (R-ID), David Vitter (R-LA), Mike Lee (R-UT), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), John Boozman (R-AR), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), James Lankford (R-OK), Susan Collins (R-ME), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Deb Fischer (R-NE), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA).

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