Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), a member of the National Security Working Group and former Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs released a statement following the release of U.S. citizens imprisoned in Iran:
Today we welcome the release of those U.S. citizens who were imprisoned in Iran. This is a positive development for those released and their families who have suffered tremendously while their loved ones were held in Iranian prisons. The Obama Administration, and in particular Secretary Kerry, are to be commended for working tirelessly to secure the release of these Americans. I specifically pressed the Administration on the imprisonment of Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian. I first wrote to Secretary Kerry in July of 2014 and then again in December of 2014 urging the Administration to accelerate their efforts to secure Mr. Rezaian’s release. Additionally I introduced a Senate resolution that passed unanimously to highlight our nation’s longstanding commitment to the freedom of the press abroad and to underscore the need to press foreign governments to respect the rights of journalists. There’s no question that those Americans unjustly held by the Iranian regime should have been released without any conditions. The Iranian regime doesn’t deserve a pat on the back for releasing Americans who should never have been imprisoned in the first place. In the coming days it will be important to carefully examine the details of this announcement. As this review takes place members of Congress have an obligation to study the details carefully and remember this isn’t a box score but was a very complex and difficult diplomatic negotiation. The release of these prisoners doesn’t change the underlying work the Administration and Congress needs to do to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its behavior. The Iranian regime is a serial violator of human rights. And as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) moves forward the Administration must implement the agreement well and enforce it vigorously while countering Iranian aggression and deterring the regime from taking inappropriate actions. Iran’s recent testing of ICBMs, a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions, should not go unpunished. I will continue to press the Administration to place sanctions on Iran for this flagrant violation of UN Security Council resolutions.