Americans Held Hostage in Iran: 1979 – 2016

Amer Hostages Iran Bar Chart w bnw sketchPNG

There may be, and likely are, other Americans who were secretly abducted and held in Iran as hostages-prisoners that the U.S. government is aware of, but the general public knows nothing about. That’s mainly because of the U.S. State Department’s policy and advice to the families of new hostages is not to talk to the media. Instead they are counseled to keep quiet, to not encourage ransom demands, nor increase publicity for the terrorists’ claims in the media. Meanwhile, the State Department say they will work quietly behind the scenes on behalf of the family’s and hostage’s best interests. Some say that U.S. works rater in what it perceives as the nations best (political) interests.


DETAINEES:                            FROM              TO                   TOTAL # OF DAYS     YRS, MOS, DAYS
52 U.S. Embassy Hostages    11/4/1979        1/20/1981              444                               1         2        17
Robert Levinson                    3/9/2007        UNRESOLVED  3403 on 7/1/16               9        4        24
Sarah Shourd                           7/31/2009       9/14/2010            410                                 1         1         14
Shane Bauer & Josh Fattal     7/31/2009       9/21/2011            782                                 2         1         21
Amir Hekmati                         8/29/2011       1/17/2016            1603                                4        4        20
Saeed Abedini                         7/28/2012(1)  1/17/2016            1269                                3        5        21
Jason Rezaian                          7/22/2014       1/17/2016            545                                  1        5        27
Siamak Namazi                   10/15/2015(2)  UNRESOLVED  261 on 7/1/16                 –        9        18


* Listed by date taken hostage or of disappearance in Iran.

The U.S. and Iran did not have direct official diplomatic relations for over 34 years, ever since the U.S. Embassy in Tehran was overrun by Islamic jihad students and supporters of the Ayatollah. That was November 1979 and it wasn’t until the nuclear talks were announced in November 2013 that face to face talks were resumed. However, Iran is still listed by the State Department as one of only 3 nations worldwide currently designated as a ‘state sponsor of terror.’

The Ayatollah’s own personal military arm, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), with its network of dozens of clandestine holding sites throughout Iran, is named separately as a terrorist organization and is responsible for 1000’s of deaths, random incarcerations and serious injuries within Iran, and also for American and coalition partners’ deaths and maiming as a result of supplying weapons and IED’s in Iraq and Afghanistan. The IRGC was behind the recent capture of 10 U.S. sailors.

(1) Approximate – includes 60 days of house arrest.

(2) Estimate – like many other hostages, Namazi initially  ‘disappeared’ and was later discovered by family in prison.

Data contained in the bar graph and table above are believed to be correct. Send comments or corrections to daniel @ freeallthree .com via email or in the comment section below.
© 7/1/2016