The families of Robert Levinson, Amir Hekmati, Jason Rezaian, and Saeed Abedini all share something in common: their loved ones are being held in Iranian prisons. Folks at The Aspire New Brunswick know that the charges against the Americans range from illegal preaching of Christianity to espionage. In all cases, the families of the loved ones say the charges are without merit. In all cases, the loved ones are believed to endure torture and other depravations in Iran’s penal system. At the same time, the families are frustrated with what they believe is a lack of support from President Obama and Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who served in Vietnam.
For his part, President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry say they are ever aware of the detained Americans. However, nothing in the looming nuclear framework deal being negotiated between the EU, Iran, and the United States is believed to require the release and safe return of the detainees. June 30 is the deadline to finalize the agreement. For this reason,the families of the hostages are on Capitol Hill this week to make their case before the US Congress. They are concerned that if the Obama administration does not press for the release of the detainees as a condition to getting sanctions lifted, their loved ones may never come home. The families all chronicle the hardships of being without their loved ones. Still, it is unclear whether the United States will use its considerable clout to force Iran’s hand. Critics fear that the US is making too many concessions to Iran in exchange for little more than promises to curtail its nuclear weapons program.