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Washington, D.C. – Today, House Foreign Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) applauded House passage of H. Res. 317, which Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced to call for the unconditional release of Americans being held by Iran for political purposes.

On the House floor prior to the vote, Chairman Royce delivered the following remarks (as prepared for delivery):

“I rise in support of House Resolution 317, which calls for the unconditional release of American citizens and legal permanent residents being held as prisoners by the Iranian regime.

I want to thank the Chair and Ranking Member of our Middle East Subcommittee – Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Ted Deutch – for their tireless work on behalf of these victims and their families, and for introducing this resolution along with Congresswoman Nita Lowey and Judge Ted Poe.

Iran continues to engage in the despicable practice of detaining foreigners on fabricated criminal charges. These innocent people are held captive under brutal conditions.

Americans formerly imprisoned by Iran describe being subjected to electric shock, forced drug withdrawal, whippings, and solitary confinement. They were often denied medical care and routinely forced to sleep on the floor, when they were permitted to sleep at all.

Right now, U.S. citizens Siamak and Baquer Namazi, Xiyue Wang, and U.S. permanent resident Nizar Zakka are imprisoned in Iran after being falsely accused of collaborating with a hostile government or espionage. Their families are paralyzed with fear about how they are being treated.

And U.S. citizen Robert Levinson is still missing more than 10 years after he disappeared in Iran. The regime has not remotely fulfilled its commitments to help bring him home.

So why is Iran intent on holding Americans on bogus, politicized charges? Because the Iranian regime believes it can use detained Americans as leverage to demand concessions like ransom or sanctions relief, in violation of the International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages.

Our Committee has held multiple hearings with these prisoners’ families, most recently yesterday, when family members testified before our Middle East Subcommittee. We thank them for their bravery in sharing their stories.

We stand in solidarity with these Americans and their families as we call for their release. We can’t imagine the horror you are experiencing, but our hearts are with you, and we are committed to advocating on behalf of you and your loved ones.

House Resolution 317 calls on Iran to let these Americans – and all individuals being unjustly detained by Iran – come home and to fulfill its many promises to help bring Bob Levinson home.

It also urges the President to prioritize release of these captives, and encourages him to take meaningful action to secure their release.

Last week, the administration called on Iran to release these unjustly detained Americans or face new and serious consequences. We appreciate the administration’s actions so far, and with this resolution, we urge continual attention to this matter until all of these prisoners have been safely returned.”

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