J Street Welcomes Release of Americans from Iranian Prison

August 10, 2023

We welcome news of the release of five wrongly held Americans from Iran’s notorious Evin prison. While they remain under house arrest as of today, we hope they will soon be able to come home to the United States and be reunited with their families.

We commend the Biden Administration for fulfilling the most important duty of our government to these citizens by tirelessly working to secure their release and safety. We also note that thanks to the skillful diplomacy of US officials, not a single cent of US taxpayer money is going to the Iranian regime as part of this agreement. Instead, US negotiators used Iran’s own foreign-sequestered sovereign funds to secure Iranian concessions. Iran will gain access to some of its own money held overseas, but with a significant limitation that it can only be used for humanitarian purchases to meet the dire needs of the Iranian people who have suffered for far too long at the hands of the regime.

We hope that once these Americans are safely back home, further deescalatory steps can be taken toward halting and rolling back threatening actions by the Iranian regime. It is not a coincidence that the regime’s destabilizing moves that harm the security of the United States and our partners — from its nuclear activities, to its support for terrorism and supply of drones to Russia — have spiked after the Trump Administration broke the international agreement blocking Iran’s paths to a nuclear weapon and replaced the deal with a failed “maximum pressure” campaign.

It’s long past time to learn from the previous administration’s mistakes and restore the diplomatic approach supported by a strong majority of American voters in countering threats from Iran.