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Congressman sees link between Iranian nuclear deal and Flint man held in Iranian prison

Apr 7, 2015

A Michigan congressman says Iran should release a Flint man from prison or possibly face problems getting its nuclear deal with the U.S. approved.

Iran recently reached a framework for a deal on its nuclear program with the Obama administration.  The deal is far from complete.  There are many details still to be worked out regarding inspection of Iranian nuclear facilities and the lifting of economic sanctions.

Many members of Congress oppose the deal.   There is a movement in Congress to try to block any deal from being signed.

Flint Rep. Dan Kildee says it may be a good deal, but there’s something he thinks the Iranian government should do first, release Amir Hekmati. 

The U.S. Marine veteran has been sitting in an Iranian prison cell for more than three years. He was arrested on spying charges while visiting family in Tehran. Hekmati and his family deny the charges.

Amir Hekmati remains in an Iranian prison cell
Credit Hekmati family

“It’s hard to take Iran seriously when they hold people like Amir Hekmati in prison,” says Kildee. “An innocent person guilty of nothing, for reasons that have more to do with their politics than anything else.”

Still, Kildee is not sure if he would back efforts to scuttle the nuclear deal if Hekmati, along with three other Americans held or believed to be held by the Iranian government, remain locked up. 

Kildee does not want to see Hekmati’s release become a bargaining chip in the nuclear deal.