The U.S. State Department has urged the Iranian regime to release all American nationals being held wrongfully in prisons.  Washington will hold Tehran “directly responsible” for any American deaths, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned on Tuesday.

“The United States will not rest until all Americans wrongfully detained abroad are returned home,” Secretary of State Pompeo said in a statement.

“The United States will hold the Iranian regime directly responsible for any American deaths. Our response will be decisive,” he added.

The statement comes as a U.S. federal court ruling on Monday held Tehran liable for the kidnapping of retired FBI agent Robert Levinson. U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, in his statement, found that the Iranian regime was “in no uncertain terms” responsible for the former FBI agent’s “hostage taking and torture.” The judge also awarded Levinson’s family $1.5 billion in punitive damages, a verdict the rogue Islamic regime is likely to ignore.

The State Department published Secretary Pompeo’s statement on Tuesday:

The United States calls on the Islamic Republic of Iran to immediately release on humanitarian grounds all wrongfully detained Americans being held in Iran. The United States will hold the Iranian regime directly responsible for any American deaths. Our response will be decisive.

Reports that COVID-19 has spread to Iranian prisons are deeply troubling and demand nothing less than the full and immediate release of all American citizens. Their detention amid increasingly deteriorating conditions defies basic human decency.

The Iranian regime recently released 70,000 prisoners due to the outbreak of COVID-19, demonstrating its ability to grant clemency and show mercy. Yet it continues to unjustly detain several American citizens, without cause or justification.

Any nation considering whether to provide Iran with humanitarian assistance because of COVID-19 should seek a reciprocal humanitarian gesture by the regime: release all wrongly detained dual and foreign national citizens. This request is well within the regime’s power to grant.

The United States will not rest until all Americans wrongfully detained abroad are returned home.

The statement highlights Washington’s growing fears over the coronavirus outbreak in Iranian prisons. Earlier this week, an increasing number of cases forced the regime to release more than 70,000 prison inmates temporarily, Iran’s judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi confirmed earlier this week.

The virus has taken a heavy toll on Iran, infecting more than 10,000 people and claiming over 900 lives, media reports said.

Among the deceased are some top regime officials and former terrorists. Hossein Sheikholeslam, who in 1979 stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran and interrogated American hostages, died last week of the virus. Sheikholeslam played a vital role in the formation of Lebanon-based terrorist organization Hezbollah in the early 1980s.

Mohammad Haj Abolghasem, a militia commander affiliated to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), also died of the disease. He earned the title of the “butcher of Tehran” for his role in the bloody suppression of recent pro-democracy protests in which more than thousands of people were murdered.

Iranian Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar, who acted the spokeswoman for the 1979 U.S. embassy hostage-takers, also tested positive for the virus.

Amid such alarming reports, the U.S. has urged the Iranian regime to put an end to the cover-up. They want the government to “tell the truth” about the extent of the outbreak.

“The United States is deeply concerned by information indicating the Iranian regime may have suppressed vital details about the outbreak in that country,” Pompeo said last week.

Pompeo: Iran suppressed details about coronavirus outbreak

[Cover image via YouTube]

 

 
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