- The Washington Times - Friday, July 17, 2015

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has written a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry saying it is “unacceptable” the United States has reached an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program “while innocent Americans languish in the most brutal conditions of Iranian jail cells.”

“I am profoundly disappointed that the agreement with Iran did not ensure the unconditional release of American citizens: Jason Rezaian, Pastor Saeed Abedini and Amir Hekmati, as well as any progress in obtaining information about the fate of my constituent former FBI agent Robert Levinson,” wrote Mr. Rubio, a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, in a letter dated July 17.

“I am disturbed by how the administration has missed an opportunity to make the freedom of these Americans a priority in your negotiations with Iran,” Mr. Rubio wrote. “Despite your claims that these negotiations were only about Iran’s nuclear program, Iran successfully obtained non-nuclear concessions from these negotiations that will aid its efforts to sow terror and instability throughout the Middle East. These American citizens deserve to be released unconditionally, and I urge you to use every tool at your disposal to secure their freedom.”

Mr. Kerry said Friday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that “there was not a meeting that took place, not one meeting that took place — believe me, that’s not an exaggeration — where we did not raise the issue of our American citizens being held.”

“And in fact, it was the last conversation that I had with the foreign minister at the Vienna center right before we went out publicly,” Mr. Kerry said. “We remain very, very hopeful that Iran will make a decision to do the right thing and to return those citizens to the United States, and we are consistently, constantly even now continuing to work on that.”

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