-- As the world figures out who the winners and losers are in the controversial Iranian nuclear deal, the families of four Americans believed to be held in Iran have a message for the tired American diplomats: Until our loved ones are home, you’re nowhere near done.
“The governments of the United States and Iran have worked together to reach this agreement,” Christine Levinson, the wife of former FBI agent Robert Levinson, said today. “They need to continue working together with the same sense of urgency to resolve Bob’s case and return him home to his family as soon as possible. Bob has been held against his will for more than eight years. This nightmare must end.”
Three other Americans – a pastor, a former Marine and a prominent journalist – are currently being held in Iranian prisons on what their families and U.S. officials say are dubious charges.
“With the announcement of a deal and yet silence as to the fate of Saeed and the other Americans held hostage in Iran, their fate now lies in the hands of Congress. I plead with each member of Congress to review the deal with our family at the forefront of their thoughts,” Naghmeh Abedini said on the American Center for Law and Justice website. “My children have desperately missed the loving embrace of their father for the last three years of their lives.”
The family of former Marine Amir Hekmati, who was arrested in Iran and charged with espionage in 2011, released a statement today saying they hope that the “historic news of this [nuclear] deal reflects a commitment by the United States and Iran to compromise, peace and an end to the hostility that has defined their relationship for years.”
“Our family is hopeful this translates into a release for Amir," the family said. "Amir is an innocent man who traveled to Iran to visit family, yet there is no denying that his imprisonment has been prolonged pending an outcome in these negotiations. While Amir himself has said that he should not be part of any nuclear deal, his immediate release would demonstrate a strong gesture of good faith to the international community following the successful end of the negotiations and enhance any agreement’s prospects in the U.S. Congress."
Ali Rezaian, brother of Washington Post Tehran bureau chief Jason Rezaian who is imprisoned also on espionage charges, said that the nuclear deal “does not change Jason’s cruel and illegal imprisonment for the past 356 days.”
“We are hopeful that with agreement now in place the Iranian courts will conclude this process swiftly and affirm Jason’s innocence so we can bring him home and make our family whole again,” Ali said, according to the Post. “Jason is completely innocent of all charges and it is inhumane for him to still be held behind bars after nearly a year.”
Monday Rezaian's wife broke down in tears as ABC News spoke to his mother, Mary.