Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) dedicated part of his statement at today’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the Iran nuclear deal to the Americans being held in Iran.
Secretary of State John Kerry had said earlier in the hearing that “we are going to continue to press Iran for information about the missing American, about the immediate release of Americans who’ve been unjustly held, and there isn’t a challenge in the entire region that we won’t push back against if Iran is involved in it.”
He didn’t mention them by name.
Rubio protested that “nothing in the deal holds Iran to account for human rights.”
“Quite the opposite. The Iranian regime is being rewarded for its atrocious human rights record,” the senator continued. “I know you said you brought up the American hostages in every negotiation, and I — I think we all thank you for that, but for the families of Americans who are missing or detained in Iran, such as that of my constituent, Robert Levinson, this deal brought no new information regarding their loved ones’ whereabouts.”
“This deal does nothing for Washington Post reporter, Jason Rezaian, whose brother Ali is with us in this room today. In fact, you personally met and negotiate with an Iranian official, who impressed on Jason’s case, lied to the world — he lied to the world by saying, we don’t jail people for their opinions.”
Rubio proceeded to say “this deal does nothing for the Marine Corps Sergeant Amir Hekmati, who dictated a letter from prison that said, quote, ‘Secretary Kerry sits politely with the Iranians shaking hands and offering large economic concessions to save them from economic meltdown,’ unquote, as Iran adds hostages.”
“Does nothing for Pastor Saeed Abedini, whose only crime was practicing his religion.”
Rubio concluded that “the only people this deal does anything for directly are the Iranian officials who want to continue to jail and execute their people, who hate Israel think to wipe the Jewish state and its people from the face of the planet, who want to spread mayhem throughout the Middle East, and continue to help Assad slaughter the Syrian people, and perhaps kill some Americans and Israelis while they’re at it.”