News / Middle East

    US Appeals to New Iranian President for Release of 3 Americans

    Iranian-American Amir Mirza Hekmati speaks during a recorded interview in an undisclosed location, in this undated still image taken from video made available to Reuters TV on January 9, 2012.
    Iranian-American Amir Mirza Hekmati speaks during a recorded interview in an undisclosed location, in this undated still image taken from video made available to Reuters TV on January 9, 2012.
    VOA News
    The United States has issued an appeal to Iran's new president, asking for his help in returning three Americans to their families after lengthy detentions in the Islamic Republic.

    The State Department, in a statement Wednesday, said Washington is "respectfully" asking President Hasan Rouhani to facilitate the return of 65-year-old Robert Levinson, and dual American-Iranian citizens Amir Hekmati and Saeed Abedini.

    Levinson, a retired FBI agent and father of seven children, went missing from Kish Island, Iran in March 2007 while researching a smuggling case as a private investigator. The U.S. statement said Abedini is serving an eight-year prison term on charges related to his religious beliefs, while Hekmati - a former U.S. Marine - is being held on what U.S. officials call "false espionage charges."

    The U.S. statement noted that President Rouhani, who took office earlier this month, has publicly voiced hope for improved relations with the global community.

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    by: M.E. from: Virginia
    September 19, 2013 11:36 AM
    The U.S. State Department has done almost nothing, and their less-than-deft Diplomatic capabilities certainly has made absolutely no progress for over 2-years to secure the release of Mr. Amir Hekmati from Iran. Because I am a Retired Marine Corps SNCO (and 'We look out for our own'), as a private citizen, I have thrown the very-limited resources of my VOSB company behind my personal efforts to negotiate with Iran Ministry of Foreign Affairs-MOFA, and their Ministry of Justice, to secure Mr. Hekmati's release. Because there are very strict limitations by U.S. Treasury-OFAC, State Dept-ITARS; and Commerce-BIS on what American companies can do with Iranians or their companies (almost everything is prohibited)...I have attempted to seek ways of offering my gratis, non-technical aviation consulting support to Iran...based upon waivers of Restrictions identified by U.N. for ICAO-based aviation safety...as recompense for their release of Mr. Hekmati. I have also personally attempted to negotiate with Iran-MOFA to secure the release of Prisoner Pastor Saeed Abedinia, and to gain the assistance of Iran Government in searching-for retired FBI employee Mr. Robert Levinson (who disappeared while in Iran). In this effort, I have corresponded with Iran-MOFA, Iran Ministry of Justice, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani, and many others. Of course, as a good American...I have kept former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. State Department (as well as Mr. Kerry and his Staff) fully-informed about my private-citizen efforts to get Hekmati and others released. I have also sent word to HQMC about my efforts for Hekmati...as well as my private efforts to secure the release of Mr. Kenneth Bae from North Korea. However, the mandarins at the U.S. State Dept have never acknowledged or replied to my efforts to keep them informed. Now, it is clear that Secretary of State Kerry has found it personally advantageous to take my ideas and efforts these past 12-months, and rebrand them as his own by (very belatedly) approaching to the new President of Iran and asking for the Hekmati release (just like President Obama, everyone seems to take credit for the good ideas and efforts of others...while disavowing any hand in all the mistakes they are personally making ("I did not draw that Red Line...")). Although I have never been able to find the contact info for Mr. Hekmati's relatives (New York?), they should take comfort in knowing that although our State Department may never be able to obtain the release of their Amir Hekmati, private Marines such as myself do not abandon our fellow former military; we continue to help in our own private ways, to the extent able. I would like to tell them not to lose hope. MJErickson

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