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

    Vietnam Mulls Tough Measures for ‘Misbehaving’ Chinese Tourists

    Move comes after footage surfaced online of Chinese travelers harassing a banana hawker in Da Nang

    Pakistan Social Media Star's Honor Killing Fuels Debate

    Qandeel Baloch's murder puts spotlight on deadly tradition and other mistreatment of women

    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.
    Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Borderi
    X
    July 22, 2016 12:30 AM
    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.
    Video

    Video Number of Syrian Refugees Arriving in US Jumps

    The United States is committed to resettling 85,000 refugees from around the world by October. Of that number, 10,000 will come from Syria and already some 4,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, many of them settling in the state of Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Chicago, their arrival is not the end of a difficult journey to find peace and stability.
    Video

    Video Rio’s Trams Await Olympic Tourists

    Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction. So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. VOA’ George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora