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Washington, DC – The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) welcomes the release of five United States citizens who were unjustly detained in Iran. The Biden administration has been quietly working for some time to secure their release.

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“Today brings great news for the families of those held hostage in Iran and for the families of those still clinging to hope that their loved ones have not been forgotten while detained overseas,” said Bridget Moix, FCNL general secretary. “Equally important, this successful hostage negotiation between two rival nations shows the enduring power and wisdom of talking to one’s adversaries rather than saber-rattling and threatening violence. Diplomacy is a virtue and not a weakness.”

In exchange for their release, the Biden administration will release Iranian assets, which the negotiated agreement provides can only be used for peaceful purposes. This includes supplying food, water, and medicines to the impoverished people of Iran.

FCNL commends the Biden administration for its tireless efforts in securing the release of these U.S. citizens and taking steps to mutually de-escalate the tensions between the United States and Iran. This underscores the power of diplomacy to bring relief to people suffering in Iran. The successful hostage negotiations is in keeping with Quaker faith and practice of promoting peace and justice.

“The ‘maximum pressure’ strategy employed by the Trump administration with Iran proved to be a maximal failure,” said Hassan El-Tayyab, FCNL legislative director for Middle East policy. “Broad-based economic sanctions aimed at compelling Iran to renegotiate for a ‘better deal’ on nuclear disarmament pushed our nations perilously close to conflict and caused undue hardship to the Iranian people. We are heartened by this positive turn of events and recognize that continued success hinges on increased political will from both Congress and the administration to support and defend diplomacy with Iran.”

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Tim McHugh

Timothy McHugh

Director of Media Relations

Tim leads organizational efforts to communicate about issues, victories, priorities, and updates through all available news channels – specifically the major media outlets.