American and Western Hostages

More than 40 years after the start of the Iran hostage crisis, Iran continues to take Americans and other Westerners hostage, particularly persons who also hold Iranian citizenship. The Iranian regime currently holds several American and European citizens, residents, and asylees on trumped-up charges.

Iran takes hostages for several reasons. They serve as bargaining chips for the regime to extract geopolitical concessions from other countries. The government also seeks to send a message to Iranians to refrain internal dissent and punish undesirable behavior. Finally, Iran does not recognize dual citizenship, so by targeting dual nationals, the regime demonstrates to the Iranian expatriate community that they are not beyond Tehran’s grasp.

Some hostages’ names have been made public by their loved ones in order to build international pressure on Iran to free them. Families of other captives have chosen to keep their cases secret in the hope of quietly obtaining their release. Here, UANI profiles current publicly disclosed hostages—as well as several recently released ones, and one who died in captivity—to spotlight both their plight and the criminal nature of the regime in Tehran.

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