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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Left-Behind Hostages in Iran: A Family Perspective

Thursday, March 5, 2020 - 10:30am
2200 Rayburn House Office Building


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a briefing on the status of American hostages who remain in Iran, the impact on families of the hostages, and current challenges in getting Tehran to the table.

Amid political tensions with Iran, it becomes all the more necessary to remember American hostages who remain in Iran and continue to maintain lines of communication with Tehran while seeking their return. In 2019, the Administration was able to secure the release of Xiyue Wang, a Princeton University scholar who was conducting academic research on ancient Persia when he was seized. It is in the national interest to follow upon this momentum from the first freed hostage from Iran since 2015 and advocate for the American citizens who remain detained and separated from their families.

Siamak Namazi was arrested in 2015 and his father, Baquer, was arrested in 2016 when he traveled to Tehran to secure his son’s release. Even under deteriorating health conditions – and the threat of a coronavirus outbreak in Evin prison – Iran refuses to release Baquer and Siamak. In addition, Bob Levison, the longest serving U.S. hostage, has been held since 2007.

Panelists will provide accounts of hostage family members and the efforts and obstacles in facilitating their return.

This briefing will be open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media. For any questions, please contact Piero Tozzi at 202-225-3765 (for Co-Chair Smith) or Kimberly Stanton at 202-225-3599 (for Co-Chair McGovern).  

Hosted by:

Christopher H. Smith
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, TLHRC
James P. McGovern
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, TLHRC


Panel I

  • Babak Namazi, Son of Baquer Namazi and Brother of Siamak Namazi, Americans Detained in Iran
  • Sarah Moriarty, daughter of Robert “Bob” Levinson, the longest held hostage in U.S. History
  • Margaux Ewen, Executive Director, James W. Foley Legacy Foundation
116th Congress