PLYMOUTH, NH — Sen. Marco Rubio on Wednesday suggested the three Americans reported missing in Iraq this weekend were taken hostage by forces with ties to Iran, in connection with the release of four Americans imprisoned in Iran this weekend.
“It now appears that the Americans that were kidnapped in Baghdad – there were Americans kidnapped in Baghdad about 72 hours ago, right as other American hostages were being released — it appears potentially that these Americans were kidnapped by Shia militias,” Rubio said at a town hall in Plymouth, N.H.
“Do you know who Shia militias respond to and answer to? Iran. So, we don’t know all the details yet, but I think it’s highly unusual that at the same time as these American hostages — because that’s what they were — were being released from Iran, we have these individuals being kidnapped.”
The State Department confirmed this weekend that U.S. and Iraqi officials were working to locate three Americans reported missing in the country, though they wouldn’t confirm reports that the individuals were kidnapped. According to the Washington Post, some local reports indicated that the individuals were abducted by Shia militias in the area, many of which are backed by Iran.
While the details of the situation in Iraq remain murky, Rubio has warned of another hostage situation in retaliation for the release of the American prisoners in Iran this weekend, which many observers lauded as a positive development of the Iran nuclear deal. Rubio praised their release, but warned as recently as Monday in Iowa that the agreement cut as part of the nuclear deal to release them “created an incentive for people to grab Americans because, you know, if you grab a group of Americans you can get something from Barack Obama."
"None of these people did anything wrong, they were trumped up charges, some of them weren't even charged. They were hostages. And why is it happening? Well, because you have a president that people know you can get a deal with. And so you've created an incentive for people to grab Americans because you know if you grab a group of Americans you can get something from Barack Obama,” he said.