Aboutalebi and the fate of American hostages in Iran

April 20, 2014

hostagesThe controversy over US refusal to grant a visa to Iran’s designated ambassador to the UN has put both sides at odd and Tehran has taken the issue to the UN.

Hamid Aboutalebi, admitted that he helped Khomeini’s followers who 33 years ago stormed the US embassy and took fifty-two American diplomats hostage for 444 days, although he claims that he was just a translator for the group.

This new episode between Iran and the US reminds the fate of three American citizens who have remained hostage for years in Iran and the State Department ignores their status deliberately to avoid any disruption in fragile ongoing nuclear negotiation.

Saeed Abedini, a 33-year-old pastor from Idaho, jailed because of his faith during a visit to help an orphanage run by Christian missionary in Tehran in 2012.

Amir Hekmati, a former US marine who was born in Flagstaff, Arizona was arrested by Iranian authority while visiting his grandmother in Iran in 2011.

Robert Levinson, a retired FBI agent who was abducted by Iranian agents during his visit to Kish Island while working as a private investigator hired by a UK based company in 2007. Iran denies any involvement in Levinson’s disappearance and his whereabouts but people familiar with the case have asserted that Iranian police had detained Robert Levinson at the Maryam Hotel on Kish Island on March 9 2007.

Although resolving Iran’s nuclear threat is the US and world’s primary concern, but these negotiations with Iran must not eclipse other US interests.

There are reports of pressures on families of American hostages by the State Department to convince them that raising the issue publicly would harm the efforts (if any) undertaken to free them. In case of Levinson, of former US federal employee, some unknown amount of fund has been reportedly paid to settle the legal issue and buy their silence.

After the US Congress unanimously passed a bill to prevent Aboutalebi’s entry to the US, the administration declared that he will not receive a visa. The Congressional tough stance against a hostage taking regime should also take into consideration the fates of three American hostages are currently held in Iranian jails.

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