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Michigan lawmakers will call on Iran to release Amir Hekmati

Jun 8, 2015

State lawmakers will consider a resolution Tuesday that calls on the Iranian government to release a Flint man from prison.

Sarah Hekmati speaks at a news conference in Lansing
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There is also a similar resolution making its way through Congress.

Amir Hekmati was arrested on spying charges while visiting relatives in Tehran. The retired U.S. marine denies the charges

He has spent nearly four years in prison on spying charges.   

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, says legislative resolutions can’t force Iran to release Hekmati, but they can put pressure on the Iranian government.

“It’s important that Iran understands it’s not just Washington politicians who object to their behavior but it’s the sensibilities of people in Michigan,” says Kildee. 

The added pressure for Hekmati’s release comes as the U.S. and Iran approach a deadline this month to reach a nuclear weapons deal.  

Amir Hekmati is one of several American citizens being held in Iran.

His sister, Sarah, says his morale is beginning to fail after nearly four years.

“He wants to believe he will get out, but honestly, as the months go on, he really is concerned about what leverage there is in pushing for his release,” says Sarah Hekmati.