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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More