Mom visits ex-Marine sentenced to death in Iran

FLINT, Mich. (AP) -- The mother of a former U.S. Marine sentenced to death in Iran on a spying conviction has visited her son in an Iranian prison, a spokesman for the Michigan family said Tuesday.

Eric Volz said that Benhaz Hekmati was able to see her 28-year-old son Amir several times during a visit to Iran. The visit was first reported by The New York Times.

Volz said the trip went well, and there were no problems with the interactions she had with Iranian authorities. She has since returned home, he said.

The visit is a possible good sign that the Iranians may be willing to discuss his case further. Tensions have been high for years between the U.S. and Iran, and several dual citizens have been jailed by the Iranian government on various charges.

Amir Hekmati is a former military translator and holds dual U.S.-Iranian citizenship. He was born in Arizona and attended high school in Michigan.

Hekmati's family said he was in Iran to visit his grandmothers when he was arrested. Iranian prosecutors say Hekmati was working for the CIA.

Iran accuses Hekmati of receiving special training and serving at U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan before heading to Iran for an alleged intelligence mission. In December, Iran broadcast a video on state television in which Hekmati was shown delivering a purported confession in which he said he was part of a plot to infiltrate Iran's Intelligence Agency.

He was sentenced to death in January. The U.S. government has called Hekmati a victim of false charges.


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