AFP: The United States on Monday urged Iran to free “without delay” a US citizen of Iranian descent after state television showed him confessing to what he said was an intelligence mission.
WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States on Monday urged Iran to free “without delay” a US citizen of Iranian descent after state television showed him confessing to what he said was an intelligence mission.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that the United States has sought access to Amir Mirzai Hekmati through the embassy of Switzerland, which handles US affairs in Tehran in the absence of diplomatic relations.
“We call on the Iranian government to grant the Swiss protecting power immediate access to him and release (him) without delay,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.
She said that Hekmati’s family first reported his detention in September and that the State Department was offering the relatives consular assistance.
Iranian state television on Sunday showed a clean-shaven man in his 20s who said that he was sent to Iran to infiltrate the intelligence ministry by offering information from US forces in neighboring Afghanistan.
The channel said that Hekmati, who spoke both in English and Farsi, was born in the US state of Arizona and had a decade of intelligence training.
The United States has had unfriendly relations with Iran’s government since the 1979 Islamic revolution which overthrew the pro-Western shah. A series of detentions of Americans in Iran have further heightened tensions.