Iran Should Release Americans
Source: VOA News
Following Is An Editorial Reflecting The Views Of The US Government
The news that Iran has released 5 British yachtsmen
who had inadvertently wandered into Iranian waters in November is most welcome.
According to Iranian state radio, Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps published a
statement saying, "We have reached the conclusion that they entered Iran's
territorial waters by mistake." The 5 were detained in the Persian Gulf on
November 25 and released after 6 days in government custody.
Cindy Hickey holds up a photo of her son, Shane Bauer, who is imprisoned
Several Americans who have been detained by Iranian authorities, however, have
not been so fortunate. Last July 3 young Americans hiking in Iraq accidently
wandered across the poorly marked border with Iran. Joshua Fattal, Shane Bauer
and Sarah Shourd were arrested and have been in prison ever since. Iranian
Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki said the 3 committed the crime of illegally
entering the country, and a prosecutor in Tehran said that they may be accused
of espionage, but no official charges have been leveled that would allow the
case to proceed in the judiciary.
Another case involves Robert Levinson, an American
citizen who went missing in Iran during a private business trip to Iran's Kish
Island on March 9, 2007. In statements coinciding with the 1,000th day of his
disappearance, both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and White House Press
Secretary Robert Gibbs again called on the Government of the Islamic Republic of
Iran "to assist in providing any information on Mr. Levinson's whereabouts and
in ensuring his prompt and safe return to his family in the United States."
Secretary Clinton noted that while Iranian authorities promised to share
information about their investigation into Mr. Levinson's disappearance, "that
promise has yet to be fulfilled."
Secretary Clinton said Mr. Levinson's case remains a priority for the United
States, as does resolving the cases of other American citizens who are unjustly
detained in Iran. They include the three hikers, American scholar Kian Tajbahksh
who was arrested in Tehran after the disputed presidential election and who was
sentenced to more than 12 years in prison after a mass show trial, and Reza
Taghavi, a 71-year old American businessman who was arrested by Iranian
authorities in May 2008 and is reportedly being held without charges.
... Payvand News - 12/08/09 ... --