Unfortunately, the administration’s position on the Iran nuclear deal vis-à-vis American hostages in Iran indicates the release of American hostages is anything but a priority and the nuclear deal can be restored without American prisoners released.
WASHINGTON (PRWEB) April 05, 2021
STATEMENT FROM HOSTAGE AID WORLDWIDE ON THE EVE OF INDIRECT NEGOTIATIONS WITH IRAN ON LIFTING SANCTIONS AND THE US RE-ENTRY INTO THE JCPOA
Former Iran Hostages and Family Members of Current Hostages Held in Iran issue a joint press release
On the occasion of Siamak Namazi’s 2000-day imprisonment as American hostage and in the advent of the Vienna meeting on April 6 to revive the Iran nuclear deal, Hostage Aid Worldwide renews its call on the Biden administration to unequivocally prioritize the release of American hostages held in Iran in the administration’s intended indirect negotiation with Iran in Vienna.
With a track record of hostage taking since its inception in 1979, the Iranian regime rather than abandoning this heinous activity after the conclusion of the nuclear deal in 2015, has taken it to a new level. The Obama administration’s January 2016 exchange of prisoners left Nizar Zakka and Siamak Namazi behind. To this day Siamak still remains in Iran’s Evin Prison. In addition to Siamak Namazi, there are at least three other Americans under Iranian custody or banned from leaving Iran today, including American businessman Emad Shargi, who was initially cleared of all charges, then re-arrested after Biden was elected president. Under the Iran nuclear deal, the Iranian regime has also taken a number of Western citizens hostage. At least 4 German, 2 French, 2 Austrian, 3 British, 1 Swedish and other citizens remain under Iranian custody today.
To this day, Hostage Aid Worldwide believes this administration has refused to unequivocally acknowledge the American citizens detained in Iran as pawns for political gain as hostages and insisted on referring to them as “wrongfully detained Americans.” The Biden administration has stated on several occasions that the release of “wrongfully detained Americans” from Iran is its top priority. However, since President Biden was sworn into office, not a single American was released from Iran, despite multiple concessionary gestures the administration has made to Iran to restore the nuclear deal and lift sanctions.
On Tuesday, April 6, the Biden Administration including officials who were involved in the 2013 negotiations will again enter into indirect negotiation without the release of American hostages. It is crucial that they seize the opportunity to learn from previous mistakes when some hostages were left behind pending planned goodwill gestures from Iran which never materialized. In his PBS interview on April 2nd, when US Envoy on Iran, Robert Malley, was asked whether there would be a deal if American prisoners are not released, he dodged the question and repeated the official line that it is the priority of the US to get them home. Unfortunately, the administration’s position on the Iran nuclear deal vis-à-vis American hostages in Iran indicates the release of American hostages is anything but a priority and the nuclear deal can be restored without American prisoners released. It is the view of Hostage Aid Worldwide that this approach will be unhelpful and prove opportunistic for Iran.
Hostage Aid Worldwide asks the Biden administration to act on its promise and prioritize the release of American hostages in its dealing with Iran: the administration’s restoration of JCPOA must be conditioned on the release of American hostages and Iran’s commitment to end hostage taking.
As a conclusion, we would like to reiterate the 3 main points that we believe this administration should include prior, during, and after any negotiations with Iran based on the basic American values.
1- The release of all American hostages as well as those from our allies as a prerequisite to the start of any nuclear negotiations with Iran.
2- The halt of negotiations if any new hostage incident takes place during the negotiations.
3- Any final agreement should have a snap back clause in case of any hostage taking incident after signing.
Signed on behalf of Hostage Aid Worldwide and the following hostages and family members:
Barry Rosen | Board member and former hostage US Embassy Tehran (1979 – 1981)
Nizar Zakka | Board member and former hostage in Iran (2015- 2019)
Kylie Moore | Board member and former Hostage Iran (2018-2020)
Xiyue Wang | Board member and former hostage in Iran (2016 – 2019)
Ana Diamond | Former Hostage in Iran (2014 – 2019)
Sam Goodwin | Board member and former hostage in Syria (2019)
Richard Ratcliff | Husband of Nazanin Ratcliff (Current UK Hostage in Iran since 2016)
Vida Mehrannia | Wife of Dr. Ahmedreza Djalali (Current Swedish Hostage in Iran since 2016)
Family of Massud Mossaheb (Current Austrian Hostage in Iran since 2019)
Family of Jamshid Sharmahd (Current US-German hostage in Iran since 2020)
Family of Anousheh Ashouri (Current UK hostage in Iran since 2017)
Families of 8 current US and western hostages (Names not disclosed for safety reasons)
Geoffrey Dive | Board member, Advisory Board Chair
Daren Nair | Advisory Board Member
Ali Arab | Board member, Treasurer