FACT CHECK: Lawmakers Of Both Parties Have Condemned Iran’s Seizure Of British Sailors

The right wing has repeatedly criticized the congressional leadership for staying silent on Iran’s capture of British hostages. Last night on Fox News’s Hannity and Colmes, Newt Gingrich said that “it would be wonderful if people on the left would speak up,” and was “saddened” that “the Democrats in Congress [failed to] pass any resolution before they left town indicating how wrong this was.” Watch it:


Both Republicans and Democrats have condemned the hostage situation. The Senate agreed to, and passed, S. Res. 136, a resolution “expressing the sense of the Senate condemning the seizure by the Government of Iran of 15 British naval personnel in Iraqi territorial waters, and calling for their immediate, safe, and unconditional release.” The bill was sponsored by Republican Sen. Norm Coleman (MN) and had 22 co-sponsors — 11 of whom were Democrats. The list of Democratic co-sponsors:

Sen. Joe Biden (DE) Sen. Ben Cardin (MD)Sen. Bob Casey (PA)Sen. Hillary Clinton (NY)Sen. Chris Dodd (CT)Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA)Sen. John Kerry (MA)Sen. Barbara Mikulski (MD)Sen. Bill Nelson (FL)Sen. John Rockefeller (WV)Sen. Charles Schumer (NY)



GINGRICH: I’m very saddened that, on the left, all the people who have worried about terrorists in Guantanamo, I haven’t heard a single one of them talk about the degree to which the Iranians are breaking international law, violating the Geneva Convention, acting in ways that are clearly illegal. And this exploitation of these 15 hostages is clearly, fundamentally a violation of international law.

COLMES: President Gingrich, or, in this case, Speaker Gingrich would use this as a club to beat the left, because they don’t have the rhetoric that you feel matches the situation, so you want to make this a left-right division in this country?

GINGRICH: No. Wait a second, Alan. All I said is — and maybe you can prove me wrong; I’d be delighted — I’d love to have, you know, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Harry Reid, various Democratic presidential candidates speaking emphatically about their commitment to the British, their alliance on the side of civilization, their opposition to hostage-taking.

I didn’t see the Democrats in Congress pass any resolution before they left town indicating how wrong this was. They’re very quick to attack the United States over how we deal with terrorists, but they don’t seem quite as quick…


COLMES: Who’s attacking the United States? Mr. Speaker, why use this at a time like this of international crisis to simply attack Democrats? It’s not an American issue, although they are our allies. We support the British. But why use this to be divisive in this country?

GINGRICH: I said it would be wonderful if people on the left would speak up. All the people who claim they care about international law, they care about obeying the rules of law, they care about treating people decently, here’s an opportunity for them to indicate their concern about Iran and the Iranian dictatorship. And I don’t sense any great outpouring of concern about how the Iranians deal with an American ally, even when it is in violation of international law.