A resolution from U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch demanding Iran offer more assistance in releasing Robert Levinson, a Florida resident who went missing in Iran almost a decade ago, passed the U.S. House on Monday.
Levinson worked for the FBI and DEA went missing in 2007 during a private investigation case in Iran involving cigarette smuggling. Back in 2013, the Associated Press ran a story insisting Levinson worked for the CIA.
Deutch, the ranking Democrat on the U.S. House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, took to the House floor on Monday on the matter.
“For the families of the four American prisoners released by Iran earlier this year, the nightmare is finally over. But it is not over for my constituents, the Levinson family,” Deutch said. “Bob Levinson is a patriot who loves this country dearly and devoted his life to public service. It is now time for this country to come through for Bob, and do everything in our power to bring him home.
“For anyone watching this debate today, I encourage you to tweet about Bob Levinson using the hashtag #WhatAboutBob," Deutch added. “For those in South Florida, I encourage you to come support the Levinson family this Saturday in Coral Springs. We must keep talking about Bob. We must raise the level of awareness around Bob’s case. We must encourage our government – and the governments of our friends and allies – to continue to work tirelessly to find Bob and to bring him home.”
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., who chairs the U.S. House Middle East and North Afrcia Subcommittee, also took to the House floor. Like Deutch, she showcased the rally being held in Coral Springs on Saturday to support the Levinson family.
Ros-Lehtinen used her time on the floor to showcase the “plight of Bob Levinson” and called his family’s pain “heartwrenching.” Turning her fire to Iran, Ros-Lehtinen ripped that regime‘s “continued failure" to uphold promises to help release Levinson.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., explained her support for the resolution on Monday.
“We must hold Iran’s leaders accountable to every commitment they make, particularly when American lives are on the line,” Wasserman Schultz said. “As I mentioned directly to Secretary of State John Kerry last week, this month marks nine years of suffering and uncertainty for Bob’s family and friends. While I joined my colleagues and the nation in welcoming home four Americans who had also been detained in Iran earlier this year, I remain focused on ensuring Iran cooperates with ongoing efforts of the United States in Bob’s case.
“Last week, Iran’s citizens voted for a new Parliament and Assembly of Experts,” she added. “I am under no illusions that this new parliament will produce significantly different policies from the government. However, I would urge these new legislators to heed the sentiments of this resolution, and, as a meaningful humanitarian gesture regardless of any other longstanding serious disagreements, intensify cooperation with the United States. My heart continues to go out to Bob’s family and friends.”
Other co-sponsors of the resolution in the Florida delegation were Republican U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Curt Clawson, Ander Crenshaw, Carlos Curbelo, Mario Diaz-Balart and John Mica and Democratic U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Lois Frankel, Alan Grayson, Alcee Hastings and Patrick Murphy. The measure passed on a voice vote.
A similar resolution from Florida’s two U.S. senators--Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio--passed the Senate without opposition earlier last month.
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