Obama urges Iran to release detained US citizens

Published March 21st, 2015 - 06:00 GMT

US President Barack Obama called on Iran to release three US citizens who have been detained by the government, Reuters reported Friday. 

Americans Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati and Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian were detained and charges of various crimes in the country. Rezaian has been in Iranian jail since July, while the others have been in jail for two-plus years.

Abedini was jailed for his Christian faith. Hekmati, a former US Marine, was sentenced to death on charges of spying for the CIA but awaiting a retrial. 

"Today, as families across the world gather to mark this holiday, we remember those American families who are enduring painful separations from their loved ones who are imprisoned or went missing in Iran," the president said in a statement. 

He also asked the country to help find Robert Levinson, a former FBI who has been missing for eight years. 

Obama made the appeal in conjunction with a video for Nowruz, the Persian New Year

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