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Today marks 44 years since followers of Ayatollah Khomeini took U.S. diplomats hostage at our embassy in Tehran and held them in horrific conditions for more than a year. We are grateful to our diplomats who served in Tehran and to all the American diplomats who work every day to advance our interests in dangerous situations around the world.

Unfortunately, the Iranian regime has a long history of unjustly detaining foreign nationals that continues today. In September, we were overjoyed to reunite five Americans with their loved ones after their release from the Iranian regime’s captivity. While we celebrate their release and the departure from Iran of two of their family members who had been prevented from leaving the country, we condemn Iran’s continued detention of foreign citizens for use as bargaining chips. We condemn the Iranian regime’s ongoing support for Hamas and other terrorist groups across the Middle East region that engage in the abhorrent practice of hostage-taking.

We take the opportunity to remind U.S. citizens that they should not travel to Iran for any reason due to the risk of arbitrary arrest and detention. The United States is committed to working with like-minded partners to end the practices of hostage-taking and wrongful detention and to promote accountability for Iran and other regimes that engage in the cruel practice of unjustly detaining other countries’ citizens.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future