AMERICANS HELD HOSTAGE IN IRAN SINCE 1979 ISLAMIC REVOLUTION TO 2016 *
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 as of 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 as of 7/1/16 – 9 18
* Listed by date taken hostage or of disappearance in Iran. 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.
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.
As the graphic timeline (below) indicates, there were several prisoner exchanges between Iran and the U.S. over 2010 through 2013. These swaps took place at a time when the U.S. strenuously claimed it had no direct lines of communication or diplomatic contact with Iran. Therefore, by inference the U.S. was not able to intervene on behalf of its citizens that were captured and held in Iran. Making these claims to the media and the hostages’ families included: John Kerry, President Obama, several White House and State Department spokespersons and some U.S. Senators and Congressmen! Essentially these people knew better and flat out lied to America and the families!
Prisoner swaps resumed in 2011 and picked up the pace in 2012 and the first half of 2013! None of this appeared in the U.S. media until nuke talks were announced in late 2013. However, returning Iranians received a heroes welcome and it was well covered in their media!
One must ask now, is the U.S. that bad at negotiating or is Iran that good? It seems a little bit of both! While Iran desperately needed access to an estimated $150 billion dollars, why couldn’t the U.S. get a better deal? Were we hoodwinked? Back a few years ago did we simply exchange those 3 young American hikers for 4 convicted Iranian criminals? Short answer is “no!” “Someone” who has remained anonymous paid a reported $500 million dollar bail (i.e. ransom) to the Iranian government for each one of the three! The last Iranian released by the U.S. was in April 2013; he was a high level Iranian nuclear scientist. Yes, a NUCLEAR SCIENTIST who really was a spy in the U.S. masquerading as a university professor. Does that make sense? Like the other three Iranians, he was released from prison in the middle of the night and flown by the U.S. directly to Oman. After a plane change, he arrived the next day in Tehran and was welcomed home as a hero looking very fit and well-rested! What condition will our American hostages be in once they are released to come home?
Timeline of Prisoner Exchanges By U.S. & Iran – 2007 to 2013
January 2016 – Released: Amir Hekmati, Saeed Abedini & Jason Rezaian
3 Remain: Robert Levinson & Siamak Namazi and his Father
(To enlarge click on Timeline graphic above)
Today while we and President Obama enjoy our lives, there are still Americans enduring another 24 hours in hellish conditions in Iran! They are hostages, not criminals, who are held against their wills. They have had little or no direct contact with their U.S. family members. ALL of them are U.S. citizens with distinguished career backgrounds. ALL of them entered Iran 100% legally.
The Americans unjustly held in Iran include:
1. Jason Rezaian a correspondent with the Washington Post. He is an American citizen who disappeared, along with his reporter wife ‘Yegi’ on July 22, 2014. His family and employer did not know his whereabouts for about a week, similar to how Saeed and Amir were snatched. They were both “detained” in Evin prison and placed in solitary confinement. Thankfully Yegi was released on bail and remained in Iran to help with her husbands legal matters. Jason is an experienced reporter who knows the rules and understands Iran. He thought. He is accused of subverting the Islamic State, which he and the Washington Post vigorously protest. The State Department has called for his immediate release. To read more about Jason Rezaian and Yegi click on the tab above.
2. Saeed Abedini a Christian Pastor who converted from Islam, was in Iran to establish an approved orphanage project. He has a wife and 2 young children who languish back home in the U.S. without him. After two months of ‘house arrest’ *(about 60 days of house arrest are included in the number of days above), he was arrested without any further notice. His ‘crime’ was displaying his Christian concern for the people of Iran. He was charged, convicted and sentenced to 8 years as a “threat to Iran’s national security!”
After President Obama’s 15-minute telephone call in September, 2013 with Iran’s new ‘moderate’ President Hassan Rouhani, Saeed was transferred to an even worse prison and suffers even more. His health has deteriorated, receives insufficient care and has lost considerable weight. We know because Iranian family members are occasionally able to visit him. To read more about Saeed Abedini click on the tab above.
3. Amir Hekmati a former U.S. Marine who, after serving 4-years in uniform, was a language and cultural liaison to the U.S. Military in the middle east. He was born and raised in the U.S. and had never visited Iran before. It was his parents’ homeland and he was there to visit two elderly Grandmothers and other family members. He was in Iran about two weeks before he was taken. At first his family was not informed of his whereabouts, but Amir was able to make a cell phone call. Still, however, authorities denied having him.
Amir was quickly tried and convicted in what a U.N. body called a sham trial. He was sentenced to death as a spy! The Iran Supreme court overruled and ordered a new trial. That was two years ago. No new trial has ever been scheduled! Learn more by clicking on the Amir Hekmati tab above.
4. Robert ‘Bob’ Levinson is a retired FBI/DEA agent with over 33 years of honorable service. For over 6 1/2 years the U.S. Government, (including the CIA, FBI, POTUS, Senators and Congressmen, knowingly told an untrue story that Bob was on a ‘business trip’ acting as an independent investigator looking into corporate smuggling cases. This is actually something he did after retiring. However, some sharp investigative reporters and a few government employees, namely within the CIA and FBI and White House, knew differently.
After what was billed as an ‘Historic Nuclear Agreement’ (it was actually an agreement to talk) with Iran in November 2013, no further details about Mr. Levinson were revealed. Two writers from the Associated Press and Washington Post got the go-ahead from their editors to release a detailed article that was voluntarily held back at the U.S. government’s request for 3 years! (Link to the article here: http://wp.me/p49SUn-5R)
With the Bob Levinson case growing cold, the government stuck to the official line (aka ‘lie’) about him. They even convinced the family, at first, that Bob had no working relationship with the CIA at the time. The two writers exposed a major internal CIA scandal due to their mishandling of Bob Levinson’s involvement with the CIA. To make it worse, it was all dealt with quietly away from the public eye in closed-door Congressional hearings.
Robert Levinson is one of America’s own who served the country well more than 33 years. Unfortunately, as of November 26, 2013 he set the unwanted record of being held hostage longer than any other U.S. citizen: 2,455 days to be exact! Ironically, this was one day after the ‘historic Iran deal’ was signed by John Kerry in Paris. To read more about Robert Levinson, click on the tab above.
5. Siamak Namazi, age 40, is an American-born businessman and a dual citizen of Iran since his parents are Iranian citizens. The family also has a ome in Dubai due to increased tensions within Iran in recent years. Siamak has been heavily involved in fostering legal business trade and advocating for better relations between the U.S. and Iran. He was visiting family members in Iran and was well known within Iranian government circles. In July, just as the nuclear deal was being finalized in Vienna, the IRGC started bringing him in for intense questioning and barred him from leaving the country. While the exact date of the arrest and his charges are unknown, in late October it was learned that he was in solitary confinement at Iran’s notorious Evin prison. Until further clarification by the Iranian government, this blog will use October 15, 2015 as the approximate date of Siamak’s arrest.
The Obama Administration policy of near indifference to the plight of the American Hostages’ in Iran will not be a successful strategy to bring them home. These men have been wrongly held now in brutal conditions far too long. GITMO prisoners today have it far better! This injustice is an insult to all Americans and America itself, but especially hurtful to the 5 men and their families who have suffered the most. This will not be resolved unless President Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry speak out forcefully to Iran, demanding the immediate release of these 5 men. Without this action, they will continue to languish in Iranian prisons!
We are pleased to see significantly increased attention that the American hostages in Iran have received from the American public, including on social media, TV, radio and print news as well as from elected officials in Washington, DC. This surge must be sustained until all of the American hostages are released and returned to their families.
Please continue to support these men – stay informed – get involved! Each man has a unique ‘story’ posted elsewhere on this website with many facts about them and links to their families’ Facebook and Twitter accounts. The men are at risk of declining health and cannot, should not, be held against their will another month, much less one more year in Iran!
FreeAllThree.com adds its voice to encourage Americans to call, write, text, email, tweet or visit their Congressman and Senators to: Demand that the Obama Administration take immediate steps to ‘Free All 5 Americans’ who are held hostage in Iran today!
If you don’t know your Congressional representatives’ names and contact info: an easy-to-use ‘interactive map’ is on the ALCJ.org website. Or follow this link for How to Get Involved with ideas you can use: http://wp.me/P49SUn-oY
Thanks for your concern about the 5 American hostages in Iran and their families. Articles on U.S. and Iranian relations and related Middle-East news are also posted on this website on a regular basis.
NO $BILLIONS IN SANCTIONS RELIEF FOR IRAN UNTIL THEY FREE ALL AMERICANS!
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Email corrections/comments to: Daniel @ FreeAllThree . com (Website URL is www.freeallthree.com)