(New York, N.Y.) — On Monday, U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks and Ranking Member Michael McCaul sent a joint letter to President Joe Biden urging him to secure the release of American hostages in Iran—including Siamak Namazi, his father Baquer Namazi, businessman Emad Shargi, and environmentalist Morad Tahbaz—as well as a “full account” of the fate of Robert Levinson. The congressmen noted that the U.S. has a “responsibility to its citizens to bring all of its leverage to bear to get its citizens home,” and concluded by reminding the President that no American should be left behind.
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. Currently, the Iranian regime holds several known 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 punish undesirable behavior and send a message to Iranians to refrain from internal dissent. 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.
To read United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI)’s resource American And Western Hostages, please click here.