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Rubio, Menendez, Nelson, Cornyn Introduce Bill Holding Iran Accountable for Hostage Taking, Human Rights Abuses

Jan 30, 2018 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and John Cornyn (R-TX) today introduced the Iran Human Rights and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act, legislation that imposes sanctions against those involved with taking Americans hostage and oppressing the Iranian people. The bill’s introduction comes ahead of the 11th anniversary of Floridian Bob Levinson’s disappearance in Iran. His wife, Christine Levinson, will be attending tonight’s State of the Union Address. U.S. Representatives Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Ted Deutch (D-FL) introduced the companion bill in the House.
“It is unacceptable for the Iranian regime to continue denying any knowledge of Bob Levinson’s whereabouts nearly 11 years after he was kidnapped on Iran’s Kish Island,” said Rubio. “This new bipartisan bill seeks to hold fully accountable Iranian officials involved in taking American citizens hostage and carrying out other human rights abuses.  As Bob’s wife Christine attends tonight’s State of the Union, I join fellow lawmakers in introducing this legislation and reaffirming our commitment to bringing Bob Levinson and other Americans prisoners in Iran back home.”
“It is critical that the United States government maintain the pressure on Iran to secure the safe return of retired FBI agent Bob Levinson, Princeton University student Xiyue Wang, and all other American prisoners being used for the political purposes of the regime,” said Menendez. “This bipartisan and bicameral effort to directly target members of the Iranian regime who continue to partake in human rights abuses and hostage taking is an important step to recommit our government to never rest until these Americans are returned to their families. The fact is if Iran pretends to ever reach their goal of being accepted by the community of nations, they should start by releasing the hostages that they insist on using as political pawns.”
“It’s been more than ten years since Bob went missing off the coast of Iran, and we are more committed than ever to see that he’s returned home to his family,” said Nelson. “The bottom line is: Iran is responsible, and it’s critical that we continue to maintain pressure on Iran until they return Bob home.”