August 10, 2023
Ted Deutch, CEO of American Jewish Committee (AJC), released the following statement on the wrongfully detained Americans in Iran:
I am encouraged by the news that five Americans whose lives, and whose families’ lives, have been upended by Iran’s longstanding callous practice of political hostage-taking and wrongfully detaining foreign nationals for use as bargaining chips, are closer than ever before to coming home as a result of the agreement announced today.
As a Member of Congress, I had the privilege of representing Robert Levinson, the longest held American hostage, taken in Iran in 2007. I have seen the anguish wrongful detentions cause for both those held and their families. We know already at least one of these Americans was subjected to torture by the regime’s agents, as so many Iranians that the regime has detained in its notorious Evin prison and elsewhere have been. No one should be abandoned to such a fate.
We appreciate the Biden Administration’s steadfast efforts to secure their release and urge it to ensure they are released from any form of detention by Iran and returned home as soon as possible. The Administration is right in demanding that no funds made available to Iran as a result of this exchange will be used by Iran to pursue its malign activities at home or throughout the region, but we are under no illusion that this will be sufficient to stop it from exploiting the arrangement to pursue its aggressive and destabilizing activities. AJC continues to urge the world to stand against Iran’s support of terror, its human rights violations and its illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons.
As the author of the Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act, I urge the Administration to continue pursue actions that will end Iran’s pervasive human rights abuses for the benefit of the Iranian people and foreign and dual nationals alike.