Murkowski Comments on Release of Americans Wrongfully Imprisoned in Iran and Lifting of International Sanctions

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) issued the following statement on the release of five American prisoners being held in Iran and the lifting of sanctions as part of the Iran nuclear deal:

“Alaskans awoke Sunday to the good news that five Americans who had been held by Iran have been freed. Those released includes journalist Jason Rezaian, Marine veteran Amir Hekmati, Pastor Saeed Abedini, Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, and student Matthew Trevithick. I thank all Alaskans who prayed with me for their safety. I am troubled that American Robert Levinson remains unaccounted for in Iran and will continue to pray for him and his family.

"These developments occurred as the President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran was set to be implemented and sanctions lifted. Whether this marks a turning point in Iran’s standing in the world is unclear. What is clear is that the President keeps writing checks to Iran—whether in the form of unfreezing the regime’s assets or allowing Iranians to increase their oil and gas production. Iran’s actions continue to warrant extreme vigilance by America. Iran’s ballistic missile test and its continued export of terrorism is no cause for celebration. Holding U.S. sailors hostage and then demanding a propagandistic apology for their release does not raise my comfort level. Imprisoning American journalists and pastors on trumped up charges and then using them as bargaining chips for the release of lawbreakers does not give me confidence.

“If Iran does not demonstrate its willingness to transform into a good citizen on the world stage it will discover that America’s patience has limits and the Iran nuclear deal is a one-time opportunity. I will continue to hold the President accountable for his deal and ensure that he is holding Iran to its terms. In the meantime, I would not encourage investment in Iran until it becomes a responsible nation in which foreigners are safe. At a minimum, the President should be as committed to increasing oil production in Alaska as he is in Iran.‎ Unfortunately, this administration has consistently chosen oil from a rogue state over oil produced here at home."