You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Lawmakers join event for former Marine held in Iran

Aug. 22, 2013 - 10:11AM   |  
This undated photo released by the Michigan family of Amir Hekmati via shows the former Marine, who is being held in a prison in Iran on accusations of spying for the CIA.
This undated photo released by the Michigan family of Amir Hekmati via shows the former Marine, who is being held in a prison in Iran on accusations of spying for the CIA. (Courtesy photo / AP)
  • Filed Under

GROSSE POINTE FARMS, MICH. — U.S. Sen. Carl Levin said he hopes the election of a new president in Iran will lead to the release of a former Marine imprisoned there for two years on spying charges.

The veteran lawmaker on Wednesday joined fellow Michigan Democrat U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee and supporters of Amir Hekmati at a suburban Detroit fundraiser. Hekmati was arrested in August 2011 while visiting his grandmothers in Tehran, but U.S. officials and family members deny he was spying.

“There is some reason to be hopeful there can be a new direction,” Levin said, referring to the June election of centrist President Hasan Rouhani. “I have a bit of optimism.”

Hekmati, 30, was born in Arizona and grew up in Michigan, where his parents and sister live. He carries U.S. and Iranian passports.

Iran accused Hekmati of being a CIA spy, then tried, convicted and sentenced him to death. Iran’s Supreme Court ordered a retrial last year, but he remains imprisoned.

His fortunes have improved somewhat in recent months. He was transferred earlier this year to a less-restrictive environment after 16 months of solitary confinement, and authorities also permitted family members in Iran to visit him.

Kildee called on Iran to “do the right thing and bring Amir home.”

“This is a story of a young man who served his country as a U.S. Marine and simply wanted to visit his family,” said Kildee, who last month called on Secretary of State John Kerry to push for Hekmati’s release.

The U.S. has not had diplomatic relations with Iran since the 1979 hostage crisis, when Iranian militants seized the U.S. Embassy and kept 52 Americans captive for 444 days. Switzerland represents U.S. diplomatic interests in Iran.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Marine Corps Times

This Week's Marine Corps Times

First sergeant vs. master sergeant
Choose the rank that's best for your career

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook