Tuesday, December 20, 2011

State Department official confirms ID of man detained in Iran, calls for his release - 20th Dec 2011

A day after Iranian TV broadcast video of what it called the confession of a U.S. spy, a State Department official confirmed the identity of the man in Iranian custody and called for his release "without delay."

On Sunday, Iran's semi-official Fars news agency carried a video in which a young man said his name is Amir Mirza Hekmati, and that he had joined the U.S. Marine Corps and had worked with Iraqi officers.

On Monday, a State Department official told CNN, "We are aware of reports that Amir Mirza Hekmati has been detained in Iran. We remain in contact with his family, who first reported his detention in September."

"We have requested access to Mr. Hekmati via our Swiss Protecting Power," said the official, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity and ongoing nature of the situation. "We call upon the government of Iran to grant the Swiss Protecting Power immediate access to Mr. Hekmati and to release him without delay."

Switzerland represents U.S. interests in Iran, which doesn't have diplomatic relations with the United States.

Citing "privacy considerations," the official said no other details about the man or his situation would be available.

The purported confession was not broadcast in full by Fars and it was not clear what questions Hekmati had been asked. Read More