A Post Opinions Film

Bring Them Home

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Americans Emad and Bahareh Shargi never expected their family to be torn apart by the global effort to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon. But while visiting the country of their birth, Iranian security forces took Emad hostage as a pawn in the proliferation talks. Bahareh and her daughters are now forced into unlikely roles, navigating Iran’s shadowy authoritarian system — and complex U.S. diplomatic and domestic politics — to try to free Emad. With more Americans now held hostage by foreign governments than by terrorist groups, “Bring Them Home” is an intimate window into a fast-shifting geopolitical landscape.

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Washington Post Opinions partnered with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to create educational material for K-12 students to help them better understand this complex geopolitical issue. Click here for our lesson plans.

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Every U.S. administration has a lot to manage, and the case of a single American unjustly detained abroad can slip down the agenda. But members of Congress are tasked with helping their constituents and, ultimately, it is the decision of the president to approve hostage recovery efforts.

Write to the Congressional Hostage Task Force

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.)

Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.)

More than 40 U.S. nationals are wrongfully detained by foreign governments. Below are the individuals recognized by the State Department whose families have gone public with their cases, as well as congressional advocates their families have identified.

Mark Frerichs*Released Sept. 19, 2022
Mark SwidanRep. V. Gonzalez (D-Tex.)
Kai LiSen. Schumer (D-N.Y.)
Baquer Namazi*Released October 5, 2022
Siamak NamaziRep. Deutch (D-Fla.), Rep. Hill (R-Ark.)
Emad ShargiDel. Holmes-Norton (D-D.C.)

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About this film

Directors: Ray Whitehouse, Kate Woodsome

Producers: Kate Woodsome, Ray Whitehouse

Director of Photography: Ray Whitehouse

Editor: Katrina De Vera

Executive Producers: Jason Rezaian, Michael Duffy

Audio Engineer: Sean Carter

Motion Graphics Editor: Danielle Kunitz

Design & Development: Yan Wu

Copy Editor: Lydia Rebac