United States Secretary of State John Kerry called on the government of Iran Friday to release American prisoners Pastor Saeed Abedini, Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and Amir Hekmati who has been accused of espionage.
He also asked for help in finding former FBI agent Robert Levinson who went missing in Iran in 2007 and is now reportedly the longest held hostage in American history.
"The Unites States respectfully calls on the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to release Amir Hekmati, Saeed Abedini, and Jason Rezaian to their families and work cooperatively with us to find Robert Levinson and bring him home," said Kerry in a press statement released by the U.S. Department of State Friday.
Concerning Pastor Abedini, Kerry cited his family's hardship and the looming two year anniversary of his detention for his religious beliefs.
"On September 26, Mr. Abedini will have been detained for two years in Iran, on charges related to his religious beliefs. Mrs. Abedini has spoken eloquently about the difficulties her family has faced during this challenging time," he said.
Kerry also noted that Friday marked the three-year anniversary of Hekmati's detention after he was falsely accused of spying.
"Today marks the three-year anniversary of U.S. citizen Amir Hekmati's detention on false espionage charges while visiting his family in Iran. Mr. Hekmati is the eldest son; he has long been separated from his family and they need him home," said Kerry.
Pointing to the longest held hostage in American history, Kerry noted that Levinson has been missing since March 2007 when he was last seen on Kish Island. "His family has endured years of painful separation and worry. We are immensely concerned about his well-being and whereabouts," noted Kerry.
Jason Rezaian and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, were arrested in Iran late last month without a stated reason and authorities haven't released any details of their whereabouts.
"Mr. Rezaian, a reporter for the Washington Post, is being detained in an unknown location. His love of Iran is seen in his reporting – portraits of the generosity and kindness of the Iranian people. The United States remains committed to returning all of them to their families, friends, and loved ones," said Kerry.
"We ask the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to immediately release Amir Hekmati, Saeed Abedini, and Jason Rezaian and respectfully request the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran work cooperatively with us to find Mr. Levinson and bring him home," ended Kerry.