Ted Deutch, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen call for release of Americans held in Iran - Florida Politics

Ted Deutch, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen call for release of Americans held in Iran

U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen have issued new calls for the release of all Americans held in Iran after several of those family members published an open letter to the public.

“The international community must join together in forcing Iran’s leaders to end this practice of holding Americans and foreign nationals hostage,” said the lawmakers in a statement released in support of those hostages’ families.

“Too many families have been suffering with missing relatives in Iran for far too long. They deserve answers and swift action to bring their family members home.”

Monday saw the families of seven of those people being held release a letter requesting immediate action by world leaders, media outlets and other organizations to help return their relatives.

“We come from many countries, with different backgrounds and different perspectives, but we have banded together now to come to you as one voice,” wrote the families.

“We shall remain quiet no longer.”

Among the families speaking out was that of Bob Levinson, a former FBI agent who was working for the CIA and had lived in Coral Springs.

Deutch, who represents Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, which encompasses Coral Springs, has pushed for legislation in the past to punish Iran for Levinson’s disappearance. Levinson was last seen alive in 2011.

“The evidence is conclusive, and we should call this what it is: hostage taking,” said Levinson’s family in the letter.

Ros-Lehtinen, who is retiring from representing Florida’s 27th Congressional District, has also been critical of the Donald Trump administration’s efforts in bringing home the Americans held in Iran.

U.S. Reps. Nita Lowey of New York and Ted Poe of Texas joined Deutch and Ros-Lehtinen in sponsoring a resultion (H.R. 317) demanding the release of those Americans.

“We strongly support this letter urging world leaders and global actors to apply pressure to the Iranian regime,” the representatives said.

“All responsible governments should be prepared to use sustained and strategic diplomacy against Iran to reunite these families. We are committed in Congress to push the Administration to do all they can for the Levinsons, the Namazis, and the others unjustifiably held in Iran.”

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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