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house Bill H. Res. 317

Calling For the Unconditional Release of U.S. Citizens and Residents Imprisoned by Iran

Argument in favor

Iran needs to release the American citizens and permanent residents it’s holding for political purposes and Congress calling the regime out may help.

Anton's Opinion
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07/26/2017
Please also release any and all "prisoners" in Gitmo, if we expect our citizens held illegally to be released, we must, in turn, do the same.
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DrRichSwier's Opinion
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07/26/2017
Iran is a terrorist state holding Americans hostage. Sanctions may work but stronger actions may be needed. An embargo and possibly military actions.
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Pamela 's Opinion
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07/26/2017
Why is this even a question? The rational and humane answer is, of course, HELL YES!!!!
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Argument opposed

This resolution does nothing more than ask Iran to release the hostages it’s holding for ransom and wouldn’t carry the force of law.

JakeS's Opinion
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07/26/2017
Now, as much as I am for the rescue of said citizens, this policy will do almost nothing to affect them. Stronger sanctions are needed to send a clear message, to show that we can and will back up our demands.
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Maribeth 's Opinion
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07/26/2017
So we call them out. Then what. What is plan B?
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lmwalz's Opinion
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07/27/2017
This is a waste of time. We have more important matters to address than prisoners in Iran. While my heart goes out to those families, we need to focus on the bigger picture of saving our country from a narsicist president.
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simple resolution Progress


  • The house Passed July 26th, 2017
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
      Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism
    IntroducedMay 4th, 2017

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What is House Bill H. Res. 317?

This resolution would call for the unconditional release of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents being held for political purposes by the government of Iran. Specifically, it would call for the release of Siamak Namazi, Baquer Namazi, Karan Vafadari, Afarin Niasari, Nizar Zakka, and any other U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or foreign national being held in Iran.

The resolution would urge the president to make the release of such prisoners the highest priority. It would also call on Iran to fulfill its promises to help locate and return Robert Levinson, who has been missing, and urge the president to take meaningful action on that front if Iran doesn’t locate and return him.

As a simple resolution, this bill wouldn’t have the force of law or advance beyond the House if passed.

Impact

U.S. citizens and permanent residents held by Iran; their families; the House; and Iran’s government.

Cost of House Bill H. Res. 317

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced this bill to call for the unconditional release of Americans being held by Iran for political purposes:

“The obvious result of paying a rogue regime a ransom for the return of hostages was that it would incentivize the taking of even more hostages. And that is precisely what happened when Iran was paid a $1.7 billion ransom for American hostages. Since then, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps has taken hostage Siamak and Baquer Namazi, Karan Vafadari and at least one other American citizen, as well as permanent legal residents Nizar Zakka and Afarin Niasari, sentencing them on trumped up charges. What’s worse is that Iran is now using this hostage taking tactic with dual-nationals of other western nations, like the UK, France, Germany and Canada, in order to exact political and financial concessions.
All responsible nations must send a strong message to the regime in Tehran that this tactic will not pay off - the regime must release all hostages unconditionally. We must also hold the Iranian regime accountable for locating and returning Congressman Deutch’s constituent, Robert Levinson, who went missing in Iran in 2007 and is the longest held civilian hostage in America’s history. That is why Nita Lowey, Ted Poe, Ted Deutch and I introduced this resolution, and why we will continue to press Iran to release all hostages.”

The House Foreign Affairs Committee passed this legislation on a voice vote. The resolution currently has the support of 38 bipartisan cosponsors, evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats.

During the last session of Congress the House passed a resolution calling on Iran to help find and release Robert Levinson on a voice vote. The House’s July 26 vote on the bill is a complement to an effort by the Trump administration to secure the release of Americans held by Iran.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Sonia Sevilla / Creative Commons)

Official Title

Calling for the unconditional release of United States citizens and legal permanent resident aliens being held for political purposes by the Government of Iran.