House Passes Lowey, Ros-Lehtinen Resolution Calling for Release of American Prisoners in Iran
Washington, DC – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY17/Rockland-Westchester), Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement today after the U.S. House of Representatives passed bipartisan resolution H.Res. 317, calling for the unconditional release of U.S. citizens and permanent residents held in Iran. Congresswoman Lowey introduced the resolution with Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL27), Ted Deutch (D-FL22), and Ted Poe (R-TX02):
“The passage of this resolution sends a strong message to the Government of Iran: heinous attempts to exact concessions by holding U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents on trumped up charges will not pay off,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “The lives of innocent people hang in the balance. I hope the Administration will heed the recommendations in this resolution and take meaningful action to secure the release of Siamak Namazi, Baquer Namazi, and any other United States citizen or legal permanent resident being held in Iran. Furthermore, the Administration must continue to push the Iranian government to fulfill their promises to locate and return Robert Levinson, who has been missing in Iran since 2007.”
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is holding as political prisoners Siamak Namazi, Baquer Namazi, Karan Vafadari, and a fourth not publicly identified United States citizen as well as United States legal permanent residents Afarin Niasari and Nizar Zakka. Siamak Namazi, who has been held since October 15, 2015, and his 80-year-old father, Baquer Namazi, a former UNICEF official in deteriorating health, lived for a time in White Plains, New York, which is represented by Congresswoman Lowey.
Following the passage of the resolution, Congresswoman Lowey met with Babak Namazi, the brother and son of Siamak and Baquer, respectively. On Tuesday, Babak testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the circumstances surrounding his brother’s and father’s cases.
Specifically, H.Res. 317:
- Calls on the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to release unconditionally Siamak Namazi, Baquer Namazi, Karan Vafadari, Afarin Niasari, Nizar Zakka, and any other United States citizen, legal permanent resident alien, or foreign national being held in Iran;
- Urges the President to make the release of United States citizens and legal permanent resident aliens held hostage by the Government of Iran the highest of priorities;
- Requests that the United States and its allies whose nationals have been detained consider establishing a multinational task force to secure the release of the detainees;
- Urges the Government of Iran to take meaningful steps towards fulfilling its repeated promises to assist in locating and returning Robert Levinson, including immediately providing all available information from all entities of the Government of Iran regarding the disappearance of Robert Levinson to the United States Government;
- Encourages the President to take meaningful action to secure the release of Siamak Namazi, Baquer Namazi, Karan Vafadari, Afarin Niasari, Nizar Zakka, and any other United States citizen, legal permanent resident alien, or foreign national being held in Iran if the Government of Iran does not release such United States citizens, legal permanent resident aliens, and foreign nationals; and
- Encourages the President to take meaningful action to secure the return of Robert Levinson if the Government of Iran does not locate and return him.
A pdf version of the resolution can be viewed HERE.