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US Hostages Should Have Been Released by Iran 15 Months Ago, Says Rep. Pittenger

Image: US Hostages Should Have Been Released by Iran 15 Months Ago, Says Rep. Pittenger

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Saturday, 16 Jan 2016 10:27 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The Americans released from captivity in Iran Saturday should have been freed in 2014 after the U.S. agreed to give the Tehran regime $700 million a month in sanctions relief, Rep. Robert Pittenger, R.-N.C., told Newsmax hours after the news that four U.S. prisoners were coming home.

"I’m personally happy they are free and I’m especially happy for Nagmeh Abedini," said Pittenger, who spoke to us following a conversation with the wife of Christian Pastor Saeed Abedini, one of the four American citizens who had been imprisoned in Iran for more than three years.

But the North Carolina lawmaker, who chairs the House Republican Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, quickly added that "the four of them should have been released from the outset of our agreeing to give them $700 million a month in sanctions relief for the privilege of their sitting down to negotiate a nuclear agreement with them."

"They did some shrewd negotiating to get a deal like that," Pittenger said of Iran. 

Of the prisoner "swap" announced on Saturday, Pittenger said "we swapped seven [Iranian] felons for four Americans—including a reporter, a Marine Corps veteran, and a pastor—who never committed any crime."

 A fifth man, student Matthew Trevithick, will also be freed, Tehran later announced.

Two-term Rep. Pittenger has long been in the forefront of the effort to free Pastor Abedini.   Along with Rep. Joseph Kennedy, III, D.-Mass., Pittenger hosted a congressional reception for colleagues to meet Mrs. Abedini.  During Pope Francis’s address to a joint session of Congress last year, the Tarheel State lawmaker arranged for her to sit in the gallery and attempted to secure a meeting with the Holy Father and Mrs. Abedini.

As pleased as he was with the release of Pastor Abedini and the others, Pittenger left no doubt that his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal and the theocratic regime in Tehran remain unchanged.

"Kuwait and Sudan have broken off relations with Iran and we should form a strategic alliance with them instead of dealing with the [Iranian] regime," he told us, "Right now, the way we’re dealing with them, we’re going down the same road we did with North Korea — trusting them to honor their promise not to develop a nuclear bomb.  And look what North Korea has today." 
       

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John-Gizzi
The Americans released from captivity in Iran Saturday should have been freed in 2014 after the U.S. agreed to give the Tehran regime $700 million a month in sanctions relief, Rep. Robert Pittenger (R.-N.C.) told Newsmax hours after the news that four U.S. prisoners were...
iran, deal, pittenger, gizzi
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2016-27-16
Saturday, 16 Jan 2016 10:27 PM
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