Rep. Salmon Celebrates the Release of Four American Prisoners from Iran

Jan 16, 2016
Press Release
I’m proud that we were able to #FreeAmir

Washington, D.C. — Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05) today released the following statement after reading reports that the Iranian Government had announced plans to release four prisoners holding dual-citizenship with the United States, including imprisoned former U.S. Marine and Arizona native, Amir Hekmati.

“News of the Islamic Republic of Iran's agreement to free four American citizens today could not be more welcome.  In addition to a Christian pastor and a journalist, the Iranian government's imprisonment of Amir Hekmati, a decorated former U.S. Marine who was visiting his grandmother, was deplorable.  Last week, I was honored to join Rep. Dan Kildee (MI-05) in inviting Amir’s sister and brother-in-law to the President’s State of the Union address to raise awareness of this important issue, and I’m proud that we were ultimately able to secure Amir’s freedom.

“But in addition to the release of over $100 billion in frozen Iranian assets, assets which will likely be used to fund terrorism once they're repatriated into Iran, the Administration has now released seven individuals who violated sanctions against Iran and agreed not to pursue 14 Iranians wanted for trafficking arms.  While I welcome this excellent, if tragically delinquent, news of our Americans' release, I hope the administration takes a renewed interest in protecting U.S. national security from an aggressive Iranian regime who I have every expectation will continue to wreak havoc around the globe with their state sponsoring of terrorism."

Background: Amir Hekmati born in Arizona and honorably served in the United States Marine Corps.  He was arrested by Iranian authorities in 2011, while traveling to visit his ailing grandmother, and was accused of espionage.  He was tried and ultimately sentenced to 10 years in prison.  To help draw attention to his case, this past week Rep. Salmon invited Amir’s brother-in-law, Dr. Ramy Kurdi, to join his wife and Amir’s sister, Sarah Hekmati, in attending the President’s final State of the Union address.

Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05) serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. He is also a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
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