US Appeals to Iran for 'Return' of US Citizens
The United States of America today has asked the Iran government to "work cooperatively" with the US government for its efforts to help U.S. citizens Robert Levinson, Amir Hekmati, and Saeed Abedini to return to their families after lengthy detentions.
In his remarks in Washington DC, US Secretary of State John Kerry expresses concerned on the fate of the long-lost Americans.
The three Americans include Pastor Saeed Abedini, whose eight-year prison sentence was upheld to their families.
Away from home
According to Kerry, Mr. Levinson went missing from Kish Island, Iran, in March 2007.
Mona Mahmudnizhad, executed at the age of 18 in Shiraz in 1983, along with 9 other Bahá'í women. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
"Mr. Levinson is not only a husband, but a caring father to seven children." - Secretary Kerry
He stresses Mr. Levinson's family has endured with courage and quiet dignity the pain of spending so many important family milestones without him there.
In addition, Secretary Kerry highlighted that Mr. Levinson's family shouldn't have to endure additional worry about his whereabouts and well being.
"We call again on the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to uphold its offer to help find Mr. Levinson and return him safely to his family." - Secretary Kerry
The 33-year-old Christian is being held in Tehran's notorious Evin prison
Secretary Kerry also calls on new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to free imprisoned former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati.
He says this week marks the two-year anniversary of Mr. Hekmati's detention in Iran on false espionage charges
Hekmati is a dual citizen, was reportedly arrested and accused of espionage when he traveled to Iran in 2011 to visit his grandmother
In addition, Secretary Kerry calls on Iran's president to help locate Saeed Abedini who was imprisoned on September 26 last years.
Secretary Kerry says Mr. Abedini will have spent a year in detention in Iran.
Mr. Abedini was reportedly sentenced to eight years in prison on charges related to his religious beliefs.
"These men belong at home with those who love them and miss them." - Secretary Kerry
Reports say it was not the first time Secretary appealed to Iran in the Adedini case. In March, Kerry issued a formal statement criticizing Iran for the lack of due process Abedini received.
Iran Restricts freedom of expression and association?
The United States remains deeply troubled by the Iranian regime's latest campaign of fear and intimidation to extinguish dissent, eliminate freedom of expression, and deny the Iranian people their freedoms at the same time that it fails to hold the worst human rights abusers responsible for their actions.
The US is equally equally concerned by the ongoing bans on political parties and the imprisonment of political leaders in the lead up to Iran's presidential elections in June.
Reports say Iran's officials have tried to limit open political debate with the detention of more than a dozen journalists and the regime has also tried to silence numerous activists and human rights defenders through arrests and intimidations.
On May 9, 2010, the Iranian regime executed five prisoners in secret, four of whom were ethnic Kurds accused of being connected to a Kurdish terrorist organization.
Iran is ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World 2010, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2010.
Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain english. Read more stories by Mina Fabulous. Contact Mina through NewsBlaze.
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