News / USA

    Ex-Marine Held in Iran Arrives Home in US After Swap

    Former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, recently released from an Iranian prison, arrives at an airport in Flint, Michigan, Jan. 21, 2016.
    Former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, recently released from an Iranian prison, arrives at an airport in Flint, Michigan, Jan. 21, 2016.
    Reuters

    Former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, released by Iran in a prisoner swap last weekend, arrived home Thursday after more than four years in jail in the Islamic Republic where he faced the death sentence at one point.

    Hekmati 32, touched down in a private jet at the airport in his hometown of Flint, Michigan and stepped on to a small red carpet on the tarmac.

    "I am happy to finally be home. It's been a very long road, a very long journey. Unfortunately, many people have traveled this road with me," he told reporters.

    Hekmati was arrested while visiting family in Iran in 2011 and was accused of being a U.S. spy, a charge his relatives and the United States deny. He was sentenced to death the following year, but that was commuted to a 10-year prison term.

    He was one of five Americans released to coincide with the lifting last weekend of economic sanctions against Iran in return for curbs on Tehran's atomic program. The White House offered clemency to seven Iranians who were convicted or facing trial in the United States.

    Hekmati said Thursday that he was "healthy, tall and with my head held high."

    The son of Iranian immigrants, Hekmati went to high school in Flint, a rust belt town now struggling with a water contamination crisis.

    "It's great to be back in Flint, my hometown. I love this city. I love its people. They have been so good to me and my family and we are very grateful," Hekmati said.

    Another former prisoner in Iran, Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, 35, was set to arrive in Atlanta and then fly to Asheville, North Carolina, Thursday to be reunited with members of his family over the next several days, his wife told Reuters.

    Abedini, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Iranian origin, will now spend time at a religious retreat in North Carolina associated with evangelist Billy Graham.

    Abedini was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2013 after being accused of harming Iran's national security by setting up home-based churches in Iran.

    You May Like

    Multimedia US Observes Memorial Day With Wreath-laying, National Concert

    Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora