Former Hostages Call for Diplomacy to Prevent War & Nuclear Armed Iran
Washington DC – February 15, 2013– News Release – While Ben Affleck’s Oscar-nominated film Argo has refocused attention on the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, two former hostages argue that the lessons of the crisis are very relevant to modern U.S. policy toward Iran. As the U.S. restarts talks with Iran on February 26, former U.S. hostages Amb. Bruce Laingen and Amb. John Limbert are calling for sustained and comprehensive diplomacy to prevent war and an Iranian nuclear weapon.
WHO: Ambassador Bruce Laingen– Amb. Laingen (ret.) was the Chargé d’Affaires, the senior U.S. diplomat in Tehran, when he and 51 other diplomats were taken hostage by the Iranians for 444 days. After his return, Amb. Laingen served as the vice president of the National Defense University. Amb. Laingen served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and in the Foreign Service from 1949-1987. He is an ex-officio officer on the Board of the American Academy of Diplomacy and chronicled the Iran hostage crisis in his memoir: Yellow Ribbon: The Secret Journal of Bruce Laingen. He is the recipient of the Department of State’s Award for Valor, Department of Defense’s Distinguished Public Service Media, the Presidential Meritorious Award and the Foreign Service Cup.
Ambassador John Limbert – Amb. Limbert (ret.) served as the first Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran during the first Obama Administration and is the author of Negotiating with Iran: Wrestling the Ghosts of History and Iran: At War with History. Amb. Limbert served as political officer to Tehran and was also taken hostage during the 1979 crisis. His Foreign Service career also included duties in Algeria, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates and as Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. He is a professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and an advisory council board member of the National Iranian American Council. Amb. Limbert holds the Distinguished Service Award, the Department of State’s highest award, and is fluent in Persian.
Brigadier General (ret. USA) John Johns – Gen. Johns is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and a combat veteran with 26 years of service in the U.S. Army. He is a former Assistant Commander of the 1st Infantry Division, Director of Human Resources Development for the Army General Staff, Dean of Faculty and Academic Programs at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and political science and strategic decision making professor at National Defense University. Gen. Johns serves on the national advisory board of the Council for a Livable World.
WHAT: Press Conference
WHEN: February 25, 2013 at 11 AM
WHERE: Cannon House Office Building Rm. 441, Capitol Hill
WHY: As the world prepares for intensive talks between the P5+1 and Iran in Kazakhstan on February 26th and the Oscar-nominated Argo puts the Iran hostage crisis back in the spotlight, two former hostages will discuss the necessity for sustained diplomacy based on a ‘quid pro quo’ approach to resolve the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program and end the vicious cycle of U.S.-Iranian confrontation that has continued since their release from captivity 32 years ago.
The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation is a Washington-based non-profit think tank working to reduce the number of nuclear weapons stockpiled across the globe, increase international nonproliferation programs targeted at preventing the further proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear terrorism, redirect U.S. military spending to address 21st century security threats and halt the proliferation of biological and chemical weapons. www.armscontrolcenter.org
The Friends Committee on National Legislation, the oldest registered religious lobby in Washington, is a non partisan Quaker lobby in the public interest. FCNL works with a nationwide network of tens of thousands of people from every state in the U.S. to advocate for social and economic justice, peace, and good government. http://www.fcnl.org
The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the interests of the Iranian-American community. NIAC’s mission is focused on promoting an active and engaged Iranian-American community, supporting aspirations for human rights and democracy in Iran, opposing war between the US and Iran, and celebrating our community’s deep cultural heritage. NIAC accomplishes its mission by supplying the resources, knowledge and tools to enable greater civic participation by Iranian Americans and informed decision-making by policymakers. www.niacouncil.org