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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

‘We Don’t Want Them To Become Pawns’- Kerry: Missing Americans Can’t Be Part Of Iran Nuclear Deal -- PatDollard.com, BuzzFeed

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry argued against including a provision in the Iranian nuclear deal for the Americans detained or missing in Iran on Tuesday, arguing that this kind of linkage would be a disadvantage to their situation.

Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican, asked during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Iran negotiations whether it was true that the case of Saeed Abedini, an American pastor imprisoned in Iran, was raised with the Iranians during negotiations, as well as Amir Hekmati and Robert Levinson.
“The answer is that is not true,” Kerry said. “I personally raised the issue with Foreign Minister [Javad] Zarif when I first met him, the very first time.

And we have not linked it directly to the nuclear issue because we believe that prejudices them, and also prejudices the negotiations — we don’t want them to become the hostages or pawns of a process that then gets played against something they want with respect to the nuclear program.

Nor do you, I think. We want them returned because they’re American citizens, because they have to be accountable to us for them, and they deserve to be returned on a fundamental humanitarian basis.”

“I’m not at liberty to go into what is happening on it, and that is the difficulty of some of these situations many times because there are backchannels and other kinds of efforts we are engaged in,” Kerry said.

“But we have never stopped trying to secure their release or raising that issue with our representative nations that represent us in Tehran, the Swiss, Swedish and others. It is a constant process.” Keep Reading

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