64 Members of Congress, Led by Congressman Dan Kildee, Call on Iran to Release Amir Hekmati As U.N. General Assembly Starts

Press Release

A bipartisan coalition of 64 Members of Congress, led by Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), today called on Iran to release Amir Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine and Flint, Mich., native, from prison. The Members of Congress -- Republicans and Democrats alike -- each took photos with "Free Amir" signs calling on President Hassan Rouhani to release Hekmati, who has been unjustly held prisoner for over two years. All of the photos can be viewed here.

This unified call from Congress comes as the United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly begins in New York City, where President Rouhani is expected to speak.

"It is time for Iran to release Amir Hekmati so that he can be with his ailing father, mother and sisters. For over two years now, Amir, my constituent, has been wrongfully imprisoned," Congressman Kildee said. "President Rouhani has recently stated that he would like to constructively engage the global community. Releasing Amir would be a tangible demonstration that Iran is serious about engaging in diplomacy and improving its relationship with the U.S."

Each of the 64 U.S. Representatives today released photos with a "Free Amir" signs to raise awareness about Hekmati's case, posting their "Free Amir" photo on their individual social media sites using the hashtag #FreeAmir.

"With every voice, with every picture, with every plea, we are closer and closer to freeing my brother, Amir. We are so appreciative to Congressman Dan Kildee for leading this effort. We thank every member of Congress for their support to release Amir," said Sarah Hekmati, Mr. Hekmati's sister.

"Amir's imprisonment hits close to home for all Americans because we can all imagine our own son or daughter, father or mother, friend or neighbor in the same situation," Congressman Kildee said. "Iran releasing Amir would help demonstrate not only to the U.S. government, but more importantly the American people, that it is serious about developing a constructive relationship with the U.S. and the world."

Last week, Congressman Kildee wrote a letter to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power, asking her to engage her colleagues at the U.N. General Assembly that have diplomatic relationships with Iran. After Congressman Kildee's letter, Ambassador Power tweeted in response, saying, in part, "those missing or unjustly detained, including Amir Hekmati, Saeed Abedini and Bob Levinson, must be returned home."

Congressman Kildee also sent a letter in July to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry calling on the U.S. Department of State to prioritize attaining the release of Hekmati. The letter, signed by 112 Members of Congress, urged the State Department to explore all options to secure Mr. Hekmati's release. Following Congressman Kildee's letter, Secretary Kerry issued a public statement on Aug. 28th calling on Iran to release Hekmati.

Members posing for the "Free Amir" photos today include:

Dan Kildee (MI-05)

Ron Barber (MN-02)

Xavier Becerra (CA-34)

Dan Benishek (MI-01)

Kerry Bentivolio (MI-11)

Paul Broun (GA-10)

Julia Brownley (CA-26)

Lois Capps (CA-24)

Tony Cardenas (CA-29)

Andre Carson (IN-07)

Matt Cartwright (PA-17)

Joaquin Castro (TX-20)

David Cicilline (RI-01)

Joseph Crowley (NY-14)

Rodney Davis (IL-13)

Lloyd Doggett (TX-35)

Keith Ellison (MN-05)

Eliot Engel (NY-16)

Bill Foster (IL-11)

Lois Frankel (FL-22)

Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02)

Joe Garcia (FL-26)

Alan Grayson (FL-09)

Al Green (TX-09)

Michael Grimm (NY-11)

Denny Heck (WA-10)

Jim Himes (CT-04)

Rush Holt (NJ-12)

Steven Horsford (NV-04)

Jared Huffman (CA-02)

Darrell Issa (CA-49)

Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)

Hank Johnson Jr. (GA-04)

David Joyce (OH-14)

Derek Kilmer (WA-06)

Ron Kind (WI-03)

Barbara Lee (CA-13)

Sander Levin (MI-09)

John Lewis (GA-05)

Alan Lowenthal (CA-47)

Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01)

Donna Christensen (Virginia Islands)

Doris Matsui (CA-06)

Patrick Murphy (FL-18)

Jerrold Nadler (NY-10)

Grace Napolitano (CA-32)

Beto O'Rourke (TX-16)

Bill Pascrell (NJ-09)

Donald Payne Jr. (NJ-10)

Gary Peters (MI-14)

Mark Pocan (WI-02)

Trey Radel (FL-19)

Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40)

Jan Schakowsky (IL-09)

Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01)

Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)

Chris Stewart (UT-02)

Steve Stivers (OH-15)

Steve Stockman (TX-36)

Eric Swalwell (CA-15)

John Tierney (MA-06)

Chris Van Hollen (MD-08)

Juan Vargas (CA-51)

Ted Yoho (FL-03)