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.

    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

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    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

    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