Iran

Politics & Government
2:24 pm
Sat April 12, 2014

Marine veteran gets 10-year sentence in Iran

Amir Hekmati
Credit freeamir.org

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - An Iranian news agency is reporting that an appeals court has overturned a death sentence of an American man convicted of working for the CIA, instead sentencing him to 10 years in prison. 

The semiofficial ISNA news agency reported Saturday that lawyer Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei says a Revolutionary Court issued the verdict for U.S. Marine veteran Amir Hekmati. Tabatabaei described the verdict as final.

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Stateside
5:25 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Brighton High School students don hijabs to explore literature, religion and identity

Students at Brighton High School chose to wear hijabs for a full school day
Mark Halonen Brighton High School

An interview with teacher Diana Mason and students from Brighton High

Maybe more than any other, high school can be a time when what you choose to wear has a huge impact on your sense of identity.

As students take their first steps into adulthood, they walk a fine line between fitting in with their peers and developing a unique sense of self.

Earlier this fall, a group of AP language students at Brighton High School were asked to read a memoir by Iranian author Azar Nafisi. The book detailed the experiences of women during that country's religious revolution, including dealing with new standards of modesty in the way they dressed.

To experience the material first-hand, several girls in the class in Brighton chose to spend a full school day wearing hijabs, the head-scarves worn by Muslim women in many parts of the world.

The exercise gave students a chance to learn about an unfamiliar culture and religion. But in a school community where no students and only one teacher outwardly practice Islam, wearing the scarves was a good way to draw curious looks, questions and a few unfriendly comments.

Teacher Diana Mason and three students at Brighton who took part recently told Stateside about the experience.

- John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Politics & Government
3:24 pm
Sun November 24, 2013

Defense Chairman Carl Levin backs deal on Iran's nuclear programs with Iran

U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan) (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - U.S. Senate Defense Committee Chairman Carl Levin of Michigan says he supports the agreement between Iran and six leading nations that curbs some of Iran's nuclear programs in exchange for the easing of sanctions against the Middle Eastern nation.

The Democratic lawmaker said Sunday that the interim agreement "is a realistic, practical way to freeze Iran's nuclear program for six months while we seek a long-range diplomatic end to Iran's nuclear weapon ambition."

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Stateside
4:56 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

The latest efforts to free Amir Hekmati from Iran

Amir Hekmati
(courtesy of FreeAmir.org)

A man from Flint, Michigan has been held prisoner in Iran for two years.

Amir Hekmati traveled to Iran to visit his grandmother in 2011. He was seized by the Iranian government and imprisoned. They accuse Hekmati –a former Marine- of spying for the CIA. He and the U.S. Government deny it.

Democratic U.S. Representative Dan Kildee (D-MI), has been leading an effort calling for Amir Hekmati to be released. Kildee joined us on Stateside today.

Listen to the full interview above. 

July 4th Profiles
11:52 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Iranian-American works with war refugees, knows it could have been her

Linda Steinke emmigrated from Iran in the 1970s with her family.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

In honor of July 4th, we asked immigrants across Michigan what America means to them. Linda Steinke shared her story with us.

Her family came to the U.S. from Iran in the 1970s when her father had the opportunity to work in the auto industry.

Steinke is petite, with striking, honey-brown eyes. And these days she works as interpreter at medical appointments.

"I not only interpret the language, but I interpret the culture," Steinke explains.

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Politics & Government
1:06 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Update on Flint native imprisoned in Iran: sister meets with Swiss ambassador

Courtesy: Free Amir Freeamir.org

Although Amir Hekmati remains in police custody in Tehran, the most recent updates on the case provide some hope.

Since Michigan Radio’s Stateside report this past Wednesday, Amir Hekmati's sister, Sarah, met with the Swiss ambassador to Tehran. The United States has not had diplomatic relations with Iran since 1980.

According to a MLive report by Blake Thorne, Sarah Hekmati said on Thursday that the Swiss ambassador indicated that Iranian officials may revisit Hekmati’s case. Sarah elaborated:

"She felt like the fact that he went from a death sentence to now an open-ended case was good news."

At the meeting, Sarah gave the ambassador letters and books that she hopes can be delivered to her brother.

Two years ago, Amir Hekmati was accused of spying for the CIA on a visit to Iran to see his grandmother.

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Politics & Government
2:03 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

After 20 months of no contact, Flint native imprisoned in Iran communicates with family

Amir Hekmati has been in Iranian prison for two years.
Courtesy: Free Amir Freeamir.org

626 days and counting. That’s how long a young Iranian-American man from Flint has been in police custody in Tehran.

Two years ago, Amir Hekmati traveled to Iran to visit his grandmother. Iranian officials accused Hekmati of spying for the CIA, seizing the ex-Marine and throwing him into prison.

In January 2012, Hekmati was sentenced to death for his alleged conspiring with the U.S. government.

Later, the Iranian Supreme Court overturned his sentence, but Hekmati is still waiting in prison for a retrial — with no apparent end in sight.

But Hekmati’s family, based in Michigan, hasn’t stopped fighting for Amir’s release.

Since his arrest in 2011, Amir’s family has posted pictures in Times Square, hosted art exhibitions in Detroit, and urged state officials in Washington to move on the case.

“We’re not getting a lot of movement from Iran,” Amir’s sister Sarah Hekmati told us on Stateside. “But we’re trying to raise awareness of the situation.”

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Law
1:46 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Flint family of jailed former Marine in Iran gets letters

Amir Hekmati (file photo)
Hekmati family

DETROIT (AP) - The family of a former Marine detained in Iran for nearly two years says he's finally receiving visits from an uncle there and has been able to send letters to immediate family members in the United States.

The Flint Journal reports Amir Hekmati's family holds out hope the developments could signal some movement toward the 29-year-old's release and eventual return to Michigan.

Sarah Hekmati says the letters are "the first time he's been directly able to express his thoughts." Hekmati's family says he went to Iran in 2011 to visit his grandmothers.

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international
9:21 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

"We're a broken family," one year after Flint native imprisoned in Iran

Amir Hekmati
freeamir.org

The family of Amir  Hekmati is marking the one-year anniversary of his imprisonment in Iran.

The Flint native and Marine veteran was seized by Iranian authorities while visiting his grandmother. He was charged with spying for the CIA and sentenced to death.

That sentence was lifted, but there's no sign of progress in gaining his release

Hekmati's brother-in-law, Ramy Kurdi, says the family is being careful not to offend Iranian officials by emphasizing his innocence.

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Politics
3:56 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Do business with Iran? One lawmaker says you shouldn't do business with the state of Michigan

 A state House committee takes up legislation tomorrow to prevent companies with ties to Iran from doing business with the state of Michigan.

Republican lawmaker Marty Knollenberg admits he doesn’t know of any Michigan businesses working with Iran. But he says it sends an important message.

“This brings attention to the problems of Iran," says Knollenberg, " They are a threat. They are a rogue nation.  We need to put this issue on the forefront.”  

Knollenberg says state and federal sanctions may help prevent the Iranian government from developing nuclear weapons. 

Amit Hekmati
9:36 am
Mon March 5, 2012

Iranian Supreme Court orders retrial for Flint man sentenced to death

Amir Hekmati
(courtesy of FreeAmir.org)

An Iranian semiofficial news agency reports that the country's Supreme Court has ordered the retrial of a Marine veteran who was sentenced to death for working for the CIA.

Amir Hekmati's family lives in Flint. 

The Monday report by ISNA quotes state prosecutor Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejehei as saying the Supreme Court has found shortcomings in the case and sent it for review by another court.

In January an Iranian court sentenced Arizona-born Amir Hekmati to death for allegedly being a CIA spy.

Iran Detainee
7:16 am
Thu January 12, 2012

"Assault on Iran"... Detained Michigan man had possible ties to video game

The Michigan man accused by Iran of being a CIA spy had ties to a gaming company. Those ties could help explain his detention. The Flint Journal reports Amir Hekmati was listed as a main contact in a Pentagon language-training contract by Kuma Games. Kuma Games produces the game "Assault on Iran."

The New York Times says this tie could help explain why Iran has suspicions about Hekmati. Iran has detained Hekmati and has sentenced him to death. Hekmati and is family say he was visiting family in Iran when he was detained.

Hekmati was born in Arizona and grew up in the Flint area. His father is a professor at a community college in Flint.

Breaking
6:57 am
Mon January 9, 2012

Iran sentences Michigan man to death in CIA case

Iran's state radio says a court has convicted a Michigan man of working for the CIA and sentenced him to death.

Monday's report said Amir Mirzaei Hekmati was also convicted of trying to accuse Iran of involvement in terrorism.

The report didn't say when the verdict was issued. Under Iranian law, he has 20 days to appeal.

Iran charges that as a former U.S. Marine, Hekmati received special training and served at U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan before heading to Iran for his alleged intelligence mission.

His father, a professor at a community college in Flint, Mich., has said his son is not a CIA spy and was visiting his grandmothers in Iran when he was arrested.

The 28-year-old was born in Arizona and graduated from high school in Michigan. His family is of Iranian origin.

Politics
4:08 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Michigan family of Iran detainee says he needs better legal help

Amir Hekmati
Released by the family

The Michigan family of an Iranian-American detained in Iran for four months on espionage charges says he's not getting adequate legal representation. 

The family of Amir Hekmati said in a statement that his "only advocate in Iran is a government-appointed lawyer who he first met on the day of his trial." The statement says the family has tried to hire "at least 10 different attorneys ... but to no avail."

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