Tuesday, December 20, 2011

'It's a whole bunch of lies': Father of U.S. man who has been detained in Iran for months denies his son is a spy - 20th Dec 2011

An Iranian-American branded a spy on Iran's state TV is nothing of the sort, and was merely visting relatives when he was taken into custody, the man's father said.

Iran's state TV broadcast video on Sunday of Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, 28, and said he was a CIA spy who sought to infiltrate Iran's secret services.

The report said the man had received special training and served at U.S. military bases before heading to Iran.

But his father Ali Hekmati said today that his son was visiting his grandmothers in Tehran when he was detained and never worked for the CIA.

Mr Hekmati, a microbiology professor at Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan, said: 'He is not a spy. It's a whole bunch of lies on my good son.'

He added: 'They have lied about any American ... captured in Iran for visiting or tourism, or for any other reason.'

The CIA declined to comment, as did State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

Iran and the U.S. are locked in a complicated intelligence and technological battle, and the video of Amir Hekmati comes weeks after Iran first displayed a nearly intact American spy drone that it claims it captured and brought down.

U.S. officials say the unmanned aircraft malfunctioned and has demanded Iran return the top-secret aircraft, but Iran has refused. Read More