CNN’s Jim Sciutto commented on his video report with Wolf Blitzer recently. This video (YouTube link below) deserves some extra attention for its content. It would not have been seen six months ago.
1. It shows the tireless efforts of Rep. Dan Kildee (MI-D) on behalf of Amir Hekmati and his family. The Hekmatis are his constituents. Amir is a former U.S. Marine, born in the USA. he was detained in Iran while visiting his two elderly grandmothers. He has been unjustly held now for over 2 years!
2. The CNN report also summarizes the status of the other two Americans held in Iran today: Pastor Saeed Abedini and Robert Levinson. Abedini has been held approximately 1.5 years and Levinson, as of next month, will have been held for 7 years against his will in Iran.
3. The video also shows Iran’s lead negotiator Javid Zarif in a Skype interview he had with University of Denver students. Zarif attended the university several years ago, called in from Geneva where he was participating in the nuclear discussions with the U.S. and other world powers known as the P%+1. Zarif said that Iran and the other nations have “no other choice” but to negotiate and resolve these issues. You may recall that he also dropped ‘clemency’ as a possible option for Hekmati and Abedini who are being held in Iranian prisons for their crimes. Abedini as a Christian threatens Iran’s national security, while Hekmati was accused of being a spy. Levinson’s exact whereabouts are unknown to the American government. However, the FBI and CIA believe Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is holding him at one of their many prisons or ‘black sites.’
FreeAllThree.com has read comments that ‘not much’ was said about each man. But think about it for a second. Six months ago, pre-September 2013, before the UN meetings, nobody mentioned the plight of all 3 of these men held in Iran in one sentence. However, after the UN meetings, there were several revelations about secret U.S.-Iran meetings … and with very little public surprise or reaction. Then in December the ‘cover’ of Robert Levinson was blown wide open. Those in the U.S. government and Congressional committees as well as, most likely, the Iranian government already knew for 6 years. Americans learned that Levinson was working as an independent CIA contractor gathering intel. Up until December, we were told he was a private investigator looking into international smuggling. He disappeared after one night from Iran’s Kish island.
We see this new ‘transparency’ holding open negotiations as a positive development. It is better now with the names of “Levinson, Hekmati and Abedini” mentioned in the news on an almost daily or weekly basis. Six-months ago, none of this was happening.
To have the names of all three men mentioned now by the President and his press spokesperson, State Department’s John Kerry and Wendy Sherman and on TV is a major development. It’s one that all of the supporters – of any one of these men – should support and encourage.
It has been our consistent view that the current six-month period of nuclear negotiations, meeting face to face with Iran, should be exploited for all it’s worth to win the release of these 3 men. It would be a terrible thing if 6 or 7 months passed, the nuke program talks finalized (or fallen apart), and the 3 men still detained inside Iran.
Iran has not been asked, in a firm “not taking ‘no’ for an answer” manner, that we know of, to make a goodwill gesture to America for the release of billions of dollars that Iran desperately needs for its people. That money is flowing right now into Iranian bank accounts. The U.S. is also holding about 20 Iranians in Federal prisons as spies or sanctions violators; they could be used as ‘face saving’ incentives for Iran if necessary.
Meanwhile, all supporters the detained Americans must keep raising their voices to make sure the three are not forgotten by the U.S. government and public. But more than that, to raise their collective voices, and bring them home soon!
YouTube link below:
Rep. Kildee (left in photo) with Amir’s family. Poster on right shows photos of Washington officials who support the ‘FreeAmir’ movement.
One of the goals of FreeAllThree.com is to raise awareness for all 3 Americans held in Iran today, and to ‘convert’ supporters of an individual prisoner/hostage to supporters of all 3 men! We have been touched by comments of several readers who said they were not previously aware of the other men involved, and their suffering families. But now they tweet, share or get bumper stickers!
This is why America, with its free speech, freedom of religion, freedom to peacefully assemble, is a great and exceptional country!
Daniel @FreeAllThree .com