U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today co-introduced H.R. 5796, the Justice for American Diplomats Held Hostage in Tehran Act. The bill, authored with U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA), seeks to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its current and past destructive behavior.
Ros-Lehtinen has introduced similar bills seeking to hold Iran accountable for the 1979 takeover of the American embassy in Tehran in the 109th, 110th, and 111th Congresses. Ros-Lehtinen also played a key role in inserting a provision in the FY 2008 National Defense Authorization Act that expressly provides courts with jurisdiction over claims against the government of Iran for its role in the embassy takeover.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"I am proud to be the lead co-sponsor of the Justice for American Diplomats Held Hostage in Tehran Act, which uses fines and penalties generated by the violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran to compensate the Iran hostages and their families. This bipartisan legislation sends an unmistakable message to Tehran's mullahs that Congress will continue to inflict crippling sanctions on the regime until it completely dismantles its nuclear weapons program.
"For 444 days, dozens of American men and women endured brutal physical and mental abuse at the hands of Iranian militants who stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979. Regrettably, successive Administrations have failed to hold Iran accountable for its role in the embassy takeover or to propose a method of compensation for the hostages and their families.
"Now, over three decades later, it is past time to right this grave injustice, and to hold Iran accountable."