Menendez, Colleagues Pen Letter to Pres. Trump on Continued Efforts to Free Americans detained by Iran

Menendez, Colleagues Pen Letter to Pres. Trump on Continued Efforts to Free Americans detained by Iran

    

Washington, D.C. – US Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was joined by four of his Senate colleagues in sending a letter to President Donald Trump regarding the Iranian Government’s continued detention of United States citizens. Citing the cases of Robert “Bob” Levinson, Baquer and Siamak Namazi, Nizar Zakka, and Xiyue Wang in their letter, the senators urge the Trump administration to expand on efforts to bring these Americans back home to the United States.

 “It is critical that the United States increase pressure on the Iranian regime to release these Americans,” wrote the Senators. “Time after time, Iran has continued to take American hostages and hold them for political purposes. The international community must not tolerate the practice of hostage taking as a tool of state policy. We urge you to take all steps in the national interest to secure these Americans’ release.”

Menendez has been part of an ongoing effort in Congress to build momentum and increase pressure on the Iranian regime to release Americans in continued detention on sham charges and accusations.  The senators applauded the Administration’s demonstrated interest in helping, and concluded their letter to the President by asking him to “make clear to Iran that our nation will not stand idly by as Iran takes American hostages.”

In addition to Menendez the letter was signed by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.); Marco Rubio (R-Fla.); Bill Nelson (D-Fla.); and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). Below is the full text of the lawmakers’ letter and a PDF can be found here.

President Donald J. Trump

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

We write regarding the Iranian Government’s continued detention of United States citizens. For 10 years, the regime has refused to acknowledge holding Robert “Bob” Levinson, a former FBI Agent who was working as a U.S. Government contractor when he was taken on Iran’s Kish Island in March 2007. Baquer and Siamak Namazi were detained in October 2015, and February 2016, respectively, and each convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison on sham espionage charges. Nizar Zakka, a legal resident of the United States and Lebanese national, was detained on September 18, 2015, after speaking at a conference in Iran to which the Iranian government had invited him, and was convicted and sentenced on the same false charges. Last month, Iranian authorities denied the appeal of Xiyue Wang, a doctoral student at Princeton University in New Jersey, who was also convicted of bogus espionage charges and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

It is critical that the United States increase pressure on the Iranian regime to release these Americans. Time after time, Iran has continued to take American hostages and hold them for political purposes. The international community must not tolerate the practice of hostage taking as a tool of state policy. We urge you to take all steps in the national interest to secure these Americans’ release.

We were heartened that the White House released a July 2017 statement saying that there “will be serious consequences” if Iran does not return these individuals. We urge you to continue increasing pressure on the Iranian regime to release these Americans and to make clear to Iran that our nation will not stand idly by as Iran takes Americans hostage.

Sincerely,

 

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