US Senate Approves Measure Advocating for Release of US Citizens

On Monday, the United States Senate voted 90-0 to pass a measure (S.Con.Res.16) to encourage the Islamic Republic of Iran to “immediately release Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati, and Jason Rezaian, and cooperate with the United States Government to locate and return Robert Levinson.”
Although Abedini and Hekmati have been charged and sentenced (wrongfully, according to the resolution’s sponsor, Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and the State Department), Rezaian (and possibly Levinson) is currently being held in pretrial detention. As detailed in the resolution, Rezaian was “unjustly detained in 2014 and has been held without trial.”
The Senate passed the resolution following tense negotiations surrounding amendments to legislation providing for Congressional review of an eventual Obama Administration deal with Iran on its nuclear program. Though not included as a part of that legislation, the resolution passed Monday evening sends a strong signal to the Iranian Government that it must respect the rights of US citizens in its prisons. Should Abedini, Hekmati, and Rezaian not be released prior to the conclusion of a nuclear deal, it will be interesting to determine how the US Congress responds.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email