Deutch, Ros-Lehtinen, Lowey, Poe Issue Statement Urging Governments to Pressure Iran to Return Political Hostages
On Monday, families of individuals being held in Iran, including the family of Bob Levinson of Coral Springs, Florida, sent an open letter to government leaders, international non-governmental organizations, and media outlets urging "all our governments, especially those who enjoy diplomatic relations with the country of Iran, to acknowledge this hostage taking crisis immediately and to take concrete steps that would help resolve these cases and end this horrific practice."
As they write in the letter: "The evidence is conclusive, and we should call this what it is: hostage taking. Since Mr. Levinson disappeared, over 50 people with some connection to a western power have been taken hostage by the Iranian authorities. According to a recent report by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, as many as 20 are still held hostage in Iran."
Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22), Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Congresswoman Nita Lowey (NY-17), and Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02), the sponsors of a House-passed resolution (H.Res. 317) calling for the release of all Americans held in Iran, issued this statement in support of the letter:
"The international community must join together in forcing Iran’s leaders to end this practice of holding Americans and foreign nationals hostage. Too many families have been suffering with missing relatives in Iran for far too long. They deserve answers and swift action to bring their family members home.
“We strongly support this letter urging world leaders and global actors to apply pressure to the Iranian regime. All responsible governments should be prepared to use sustained and strategic diplomacy against Iran to reunite these families. We are committed in Congress to push the Administration to do all they can for the Levinsons, the Namazis, and the others unjustifiably held in Iran."
Congressman Deutch has pressed President Trump's Administration to prioritize Bob's return. Every Congress, Congressman Deutch introduces legislationcalling for Iran to fulfill its promise to help bring Bob home.
On April 26, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Iran Human Rights and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act (H.R. 4744), legislation introduced by Congressman Deutch and Congressman Michael McCaul (TX-10), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. This legislation states that Congress stands with the people of Iran, and it provides the Trump Administration with the tools necessary to hold Iranian government officials responsible for human rights violations, corruption, and censorship. Moreover, it holds the Iranian regime accountable for taking American citizens and permanent residents hostage by ensuring that those responsible pay an extreme price.