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  • Montel Williams To Obama: Demand Freedom For US Marine Amir Hekmati Being Held In The Worst Prison In Iran

    Talk show host and former Marine Montel Williams appeared on Fox News Monday to discuss US Marine Amir Hekmati who has been held in an Iranian prison, accused of spying for the US, since 2011.

    Montel Williams is urging the Obama administration to negotiate his release while they attempt to hammer out a nuke deal with the Iranian regime.

    More on Amir Hekmati and other Americans being held in Iran, from the New York Times:

    Increasingly desperate to return to the United States, a Marine veteran of Iranian descent who has been incarcerated in Iran for three and a half years has renounced his Iranian citizenship, requested deportation and accused Iran of using American prisoners as “bargaining chips,” his family said Monday.

    “Once deported, he promises never to return,” the family of the Marine veteran, Amir Hekmati, a dual citizen of the United States and Iran, said in a statement.

    The statement also detailed what it described as a litany of previously undisclosed torture and other abuses — including feet whippings, Taser hits to the kidneys, sleep deprivation and extended solitary confinement — suffered by Mr. Hekmati in the Iranian penal system since he was arrested in August 2011.

    There was no immediate comment from the judicial authorities in Iran or from Mr. Hekmati’s Iranian lawyer, Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei, about Mr. Hekmati’s renunciation of citizenship or new assertions of mistreatment. Mr. Tabatabaei has said before that he would try different approaches to secure his client’s freedom.

    The family released a copy of a letter it said Mr. Hekmati had written, addressed to the Iranian interests section of the Pakistan Embassy in Washington, where he acquired his Iranian passport so he could visit relatives in 2011.

    Mr. Hekmati stated in the letter that it had “become very clear to me that those responsible view Iranian-Americans not as citizens or even human beings, but as bargaining chips and tools for propaganda.”

    For that reason, the letter stated, “I formally renounce my Iranian citizenship and passport.”

    Mr. Hekmati, 31, who was born in Flagstaff, Ariz., grew up in Flint, Mich., and served with the Marines in Iraq, is one of at least three American citizens of Iranian descent known to be imprisoned in Iran.

    The Iranian authorities do not recognize dual citizenship. They regard all three as Iranian citizens, regardless of birthplace, and have treated them accordingly, denying them the consular access that is afforded to foreign inmates.

    Their cases have acquired added significance as Iran and the United States have intensified efforts to reach an agreement on Iran’s disputed nuclear program. The deal, if completed, could potentially lead to a broader thaw in the longstanding estrangement between the two countries.

    Obama administration officials say they have raised his case — and those of the other prisoners — numerous times on the sidelines of the nuclear talks.

    The other Americans incarcerated in Iran are Jason Rezaian, 39, of Marin, Calif., The Washington Post’s Tehran correspondent, who has been held on unspecified charges since July; and Saeed Abedini, 34, of Boise, Idaho, a pastor sentenced in 2013 to eight years in prison on charges of disturbing national security through a private network of churches.

    Montel Williams is also trying to harness the power of social media to address and raise awareness about Amir Hekmati’s captivity.

    The Twitter hashtags #FreeAmir And #FreeAmirNow are gaining momentum online.

    Negotiations between the P5+1–include the US, UK, France, China, and, Russia plus Germany, and Iran–resumed on Wednesday at Lausanne’s Beau-Rivage Palace hotel after a 31 March deadline had been exceeded.


    Jerome Hudson

    Managing Editor

    Jerome Hudson has written for numerous national outlets, including The Hill, National Review, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was recognized as one of Florida’s emerging stars, having been included in the list “25 Under 30: Florida’s Rising Young Political Class.” Hudson is a Savannah, Ga. native who currently resides in Florida.

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