Pelosi: ‘No, No,’ Release of 4 U.S. Hostages Held by Iran Should Not Be Part of Nuke Deal

Lauretta Brown | July 16, 2015 | 1:35pm EDT
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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)  (AP)

( – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the four American hostages being held in Iran should not have been released as a pre-condition to the Iran nuclear deal.

At a Capitol Hill press conference, asked Rep. Pelosi, “Do you think the four American hostages being held in Iran should have been released as a pre-condition to any deal made about Iran’s nuclear program?”

Pelosi answered: “No, no. It would have been good. But it’s just, no, this is a nuclear deal. This is a nuclear agreement. And I think that we have to--I appreciate the fact that since we have a nuclear negotiation and now we have a nuclear agreement that a much brighter light is being shone on the prisoners of conscience in Iran.”

 “Again, I just took a trip in the spring with my colleagues on the subject of trade and we brought up these issues with the government of Vietnam, we brought up these issues with the administration about what was happening in Malaysia in terms of trafficking,” said Rep. Pelosi.  

“So, again,” she said, “any issue that shines a brighter light enables us to say: Are we consistent with what we believe? Or is it changed depending on our economic and commercial relationships with the country.”

“Security to protect and defend--that’s our first responsibility,” said Pelosi.  “Who we are as a nation, that we respect the dignity and worth of every person and that we want those prisoners released and the more attention that is paid to it the better.”

Pelosi continued, “The worst, most cruel and excruciating pain that can be inflicted on a prisoner of conscience -- and again I’ve been working on these issues on China, as you know, since I arrived here -- is that they tell the prisoners ‘nobody remembers you’re here, they don’t know why you’re here. You’re wasting your time, you might as well confess,’ or convert or whatever it is they want them to do. And this will shine a very bright light and I’m very optimistic.”

“I know that the administration has this as a very high priority,” said the Democratic leader.  “There’s so many prisoners of conscience throughout the world in so many countries that we do have dealings with. Hopefully this will  serve as a model, a bridge to  a better understanding of who we are as a nation and why that is important to us.”    

President Obama answered questions yesterday as to why the four American hostages were not part of the Iran nuclear agreement. He responded that the issue of the detained Americans and that of the nuclear agreement were “not connected.”

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