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Kildee urges U.S. Congress to keep pushing for Hekmati release

Amir Hekmati.
Released by the family
Amir Hekmati

A Michigan Congressman took to the U.S House floor today to ask Congress not to forget Flint native Amir Hekmati and other Americans imprisoned in Iran.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, made his comments alongside a large photo of Hekmati and a tally of days he's sat in prison - 1,324. 

"I think about Amir the same way I would think about it if my own son were being held in a prison on the other side of the world," Kildee said. "He is one of us; he is our son."

The comments come in the midst of U.S. negotiations with Iran over the country's nuclear program.

Kildee said he supports a nuclear deal, but told Congress it's difficult not to see the negotiations through "the lens" of Hekmati's situation.

"If Iran intends to try to take steps to join the international community, they cannot hold Americans like Amir Hekmati as political prisoners," Kildee said.

Hekmati, a Marine veteran, was arrested on spying charges in 2011 while visiting family members in Tehran. He was initially sentenced to death, though Iranian authorities later reduced that to ten years in prison.

The U.S. denies Hekmati is a spy.

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