Former Iran hostages call for commitment in diplomacy - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Former Iran hostages call for commitment in diplomacy

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Ambassador (ret.) John Limbert (left) and Ambassador (ret.) Bruce Laingen Ambassador (ret.) John Limbert (left) and Ambassador (ret.) Bruce Laingen
WASHINGTON -

When Director Ben Affleck said thank you on Sunday night for Argo's best picture win at the Oscars, Ambassador John Limbert and Ambassador Bruce Laingen were grateful too.

They were among the 52 people held hostage in Iran during the Carter administration. At a press conference hosted by The Center for Arms Control and Non-proliferation, the men called for a commitment to diplomacy in Iran.

Affleck's film, "Argo," has refocused attention on the 1979 hostage crisis. The men were on Capitol Hill on Monday.

"I would encourage anybody at any time, go and see that movie. It's exciting," says Laingen.

The fact that it won Best Picture means that even more people will see the film "Argo" and the hostages say that's a good thing.

"The more we are encouraged to talk about it because of this film, the better," says Laingen. "It highlights the important role that I dedicated my life to -- diplomacy, interaction between people to further our respective interests."

More than three decades after being released, Laingen is frustrated that Iran and the United States have not built a better relationship.

"It's ridiculous," he says. "I use that expression. The fact that we are in this situation today, we cannot talk to each other. Don't talk to each other."

Limbert now lives in Northern Virginia and teaches at the Naval Academy. It may surprise you to know that the 444 days he spent as a hostage only strengthened his resolve about the importance of his work.

"I became probably much more committed to the profession of foreign service and diplomacy because we were a living example of what happens when that system breaks down," says Limbert. "The alternative -- I can tell you from the inside -- is not pretty."


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