The arbitrary detention of U.S. and other foreign nationals in Iran was discussed at a U.S. Senate Human Rights Caucus panel on December 3 attended by Democratic Senator Chris Coons and Republican Senator Thom Tillis as well as the family members of American and British citizens who remain detained in Iran.
The discussion which featured remarks by both senators was held to draw attention to the detention of the dual and foreign nationals in Iran and helping to secure the release of those who remain detained in Iran, according to the hearing event invite.
"We will continue to demand that human rights be respected and upheld everywhere," Senator Coons who called the Iranian regime's human rights violations "gregarious", said in a tweet on November 4.
Several dual nationals are in jail in Iran on trumped-up, ambiguous national security charges. In his latest report on the situation of human rights in Iran United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres voiced concern over the fate of dual nationals, including Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliff.
The panel was attended by Nazanin Boniadi, a human rights advocate and a TV and movie actress. Also present were Sarah Moriarty, the daughter of Robert Levinson, an American former Drug Enforcement agent who disappeared mysteriously in 2007 in Iran's Kish Island as well as Richard Ratcliff, the husband of Nazanin, who has been detained in Iran since April 2016.
The democratic senator who is a member of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee in May 2015 supported the bipartisan Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act and said: "We must do everything we can to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon".
A nuclear-armed Iran according to Senator Coons "would threaten the security of the United States, Israel, and the wider Middle East, and would lead to a destabilizing arms race in a region already plagued by chaos and violence".