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iranian nuclear deal

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A year ago, a Flint man walked free from an Iranian prison cell after being held for four years on spying charges.

Amir Hekmati continues to move on with his life.

He posted a note on his Facebook page thanking everyone who’s helped him and his family get through the “difficult times” they’ve faced in the last five years.

These days, Hekmati is taking college courses near his home in Flint.  

Amir Hekmati steps off a plane at Bishop Airport in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

After being held for more than four years in an Iranian prison, Amir Hekmati, the former U.S. Marine from Flint, is home. The Flint man was part of a prisoner swap between the U.S. and Iran. Hekmati was arrested in Iran in 2011 while he was visiting his grandmother. He was charged with spying.  At one time, he was sentenced to death. His sentence was eventually changed to 10 years. Hekmati and a handful of other Americans were exchanged for seven Iranians held in the U.S. The Iranians were charged with violating a trade embargo. 

We updated this post as he traveled home. You can scroll below and read up to follow the events.

A 2001 USMC portrait of Amir Mirza Hekmati.
USMC

(Editor's note: See this post: Follow Amir Hekmati's journey home from an Iranian prison to Michigan for updates as Hekmati makes his way home.)

The AP reports the Swiss plane carrying Amir Hekmati and other Americans from Iran has landed in Geneva, Switzerland.

Amir Hekmati is coming home.

Congressman Dan Kildee, D-Flint, has been fighting for the release of Amir Hekmati and other Americans held prisoner by the Iranian government since 2013
Steve Carmody

At last year’s State of the Union address, Flint Congressman Dan Kildee’s guest seat was unoccupied. It was left empty for Marine veteran Amir Hekmati of Flint, who has been held in an Iranian prison since August 29, 2011.

At tonight’s State of the Union speech, Kildee will once again use that guest seat to focus attention on Hekmati and the other Americans imprisoned in Iran. This time, Hekmati’s sister Sarah will fill the seat.

Hekmati family

The President of Iran suggests he may be open to a prisoner exchange with the United States. 

That is giving hope to a Flint family.

Amir Hekmati has sat in an Iranian prison cell for nearly 1500 days.  The U.S. Marine veteran was visiting family in Tehran when he was arrested.  He was convicted of spying for the U.S., a charge he denies.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

Republicans opposed to the Iran nuclear deal are taking that old adage to heart.

Twice now Senate Republicans have tried to pass a resolution rejecting the deal, and twice they’ve failed, blocked by Senate Democrats who support President Obama’s key foreign policy initiative.

Led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, they’ll try again today.

Screen grab from ad
J Street

A new ad in support of the Iran nuclear deal is making its way to Michigan airwaves this week.

The U.S.-based, pro-Israel organization J Street paid for the ad, which they say "represents growing public support for the Iran deal within Israel's security establishment."

Sen. Gary Peters and Cynthia Canty in the Stateside studio
Amber Moon

Sen. Gary Peters, D-MI, has often reached out through the phone line to talk with us here on Stateside, but today he joined us in-studio to discuss petroleum coke, the Iran nuclear deal, the Export-Import Bank of the United States, and life as the only Democratic freshman in the U.S. Senate.

Tijl Vercaemer / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg says he can't support a new deal negotiated between Iran and six world powers – the U.S., the U.K., France, China, Russia, and Germany – because it gives Iran too much freedom to continue developing weapons and does not include a provision for the release of four U.S. citizens currently in Iranian prisons. One of those Americans is Amir Hekmati, a marine from Flint, Michigan, who has been in prison in Tehran for over three years on spying charges.

Michigan Oil and Gas Association

Amid all the discussion of the pros and cons of the proposed Iranian nuclear deal announced this week, there’s one Michigan industry that may be affected.

Michigan’s oil industry isn’t very big, but it has been growing.

The growth has been spurred by high world crude oil prices.  Or at least, had been spurred.  After reaching nearly $110 a barrel last summer, world crude prices crashed under $50 in January.  After a brief rise to around $60 in the spring, the price is back down in the lower $50’s. 

The Hekmati family

President Obama rebuked a White House reporter today for the way he asked a questions about four Americans held in Iran. 

One of the four is Amir Hekmati. The Flint man has been held by the Iranian government on spying charges for nearly four years. 

Congress will have 60 days to look over the proposed Iran deal
White House

It took years of negotiation and diplomacy to bring about today's historic deal between Iran and world powers. Iran has agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions.

Now, the White House has to sell this deal to Congress and it could wind up being one of the biggest political fights of the Obama presidency. Congress has 60 days to dissect the terms of the agreement.

wikipedia

Michigan’s congressional delegation is divided along partisan lines on the new Iranian nuclear deal.

President Barack Obama says every path to a nuclear weapon will be cut off for Iran under a historic agreement announced in Vienna.

Obama spoke from the White House this morning after the deal was announced.