The United States is appealing to the Iranian government to release three U.S. citizens detained by authorities in Iran and for help in finding a fourth U.S. citizen who went missing in Iran more than seven years ago.
In a statement, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged the Iranian government “respectfully” to release Amir Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine who was detained by authorities on a visit to his grandmother in 2011, and who has been imprisoned on false espionage charges.
Secretary Kerry also called on Iran to free Saeed Abedini, who has been in an Iranian prison for almost two years on charges related to his religious beliefs. Mr. Kerry noted that Mr. Abedini’s wife Naghmeh “has spoken eloquently about the difficulties her family has faced during this challenging time.”
A third American Secretary Kerry asked to be released is Jason Rezaian, a reporter for the Washington Post, who is being held at an unknown location. Secretary Kerry said that Mr. Rezaian’s “love for Iran is seen in his reporting – portraits of the generosity and kindness of the Iranian people.”
Secretary Kerry also called on the Iranian government for help in finding Robert Levinson, who disappeared from Kish Island in March 2007. “Mr. Levinson’s family,” he said, “has endured years of painful separation and worry,” and the U.S. is “immensely concerned about his well-being and whereabouts.”
The United States remains committed to the return of all of these U.S. citizens to their families, friends, and loved ones. “We ask the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Secretary of State Kerry said, “to immediately release Amir Hekmati, Saeed Abedini, and Jason Rezaian, and respectfully request the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran work cooperatively with us to find Mr. Levinson and bring him home.”