Families of US Hostages in Iran Hope Nuclear Deal Will Help Free Loved Ones

U.S President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference in the East Room of the White House in response to the Iran Nuclear Deal on July 15, 2015 in Washington, DC. The landmark deal will limit Iran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from international sanctions. The agreement, which comes …
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The families of the four Americans currently being held hostage in Iran commented on the nuclear deal that the Shiite powerhouse reached with the U.S. and five other world powers.

They hope that Tuesday’s announcement of the deal will propel the fight to free their loved ones to the forefront of the diplomatic scene, as Congress debates the agreement, CNN reports.

Obama administration officials have acknowledged that three Americans—Amir Hekmati, Saeed Abedini, and Jason Rezaian—are currently being detained in Iran. Robert Levinson, the fourth hostage, is considered missing.

“With the announcement of a deal and yet silence as to the fate of Saeed and the other Americans held hostage in Iran, their fate lies now in the hands of Congress,” said Naghmeh Abedini, wife of Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, in a statement, urging Congress to keep the hostages in mind as it debates the agreement.

“My children have desperately missed the loving embrace of their father for the last three years of their lives. They have grown up almost half of their lives without their father,” she added. “Please help us ensure the remainder of their childhood includes both a mother and a father.”

The family of former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati also released a statement following the announcement of the nuclear deal, saying the negotiations prolonged Hekmati’s detainment.

“Amir is an innocent man who traveled to Iran to visit family, yet there is no denying that his imprisonment has been prolonged pending an outcome in these negotiations,” the family said in a statement. “While Amir himself has said that he should not be part of any nuclear deal, his immediate release would demonstrate a strong gesture of good faith to the international community.”

Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian’s brother also responded to the nuclear deal.

“Jason is completely innocent of all charges and it is inhumane for him to still be held behind bars after nearly a year,” Ali Rezaian said in a statement. “We are hopeful that with the agreement now in place the Iranian courts will conclude this process swiftly and affirm Jason’s innocence so we can bring him home and make our family whole again.”

Christine Levinson reportedly called on the U.S. and Iran to keep working together “with the same sense of urgency” they employed to reaching a nuclear agreement—to free her husband, former FBI agent Bob Levinson, who reportedly went missing in 2007.

“Bob has been held against his will for eight years,” she said. “This nightmare must end.”

“What we believe is that this deal is not the end of discussions between the Iranian government and the United States government, but merely the beginning,” Mr. Levinson’s son, David, told CNN.

Mr. Levinson is reportedly the longest-held American hostage in history.

President Obama was angered when CBS News’s Major Garrett asked him during a press conference Wednesday if he was “content” with Americans being held hostage in Iran while his administration celebrated the nuclear agreement.

“Can you tell the country, sir, why you are content with all the fanfare around this deal to leave the conscious of this nation, the strength of this nation unaccounted for in relation to these four Americans?” asked Major Garrett.

“The notion that I’m ‘content’ as I celebrate with American citizens languishing in Iranian jails — Major, that’s nonsense, and you should know better,” responded Obama. “I’ve met with the families of some of those folks. Nobody is content, and our diplomats and our teams are working diligently to try to get them out.”


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