WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement on Monday’s vote in the Senate on S.Con.Res.16, authored by Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), which calls for the release of four Americans held in Iran.
“The message sent by the Senate to Iran is direct, unequivocal, and necessary: Release the Americans unjustly detained without delay,” said Senator Cardin. “These individuals pose no national security threat to the Iranian Government, their imprisonment is excessive, and they should be immediately and unconditionally released. As negotiations continue regarding Iran’s nuclear weapons program, we cannot forget the plight of these three detained American citizens, and one missing American. This strong vote demonstrates yet again that on the subject of the Iranian Government, the Senate speaks loudly and with one voice.” Cardin added: “Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho.) is a passionate advocate, unwavering in his demand for the release of these Americans, especially his constituent Pastor Abedini. It is my sincere hope these individuals will soon be released and reunited with their families in the United States, and that Robert Levinson will be located.”
The resolution approved by the Senate states that the U.S. Government must undertake every effort to free Pastor Saeed Abedini of Idaho, former United States Marine Amir Hekmati of Michigan and Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian of California, and that Iran must cooperate with the United States to locate and return former FBI official Robert Levinson of Florida. It also states that U.S. policy must undertake all efforts using every diplomatic tool at its disposal to secure their immediate release.