DETROIT (AP) - The father of a man who appeared on Iranian state TV has denied allegations that his son is a CIA spy.
Ali Hekmati (hehk-MAH'-tee) said Monday 28-year-old Amir Mirzaei Hekmati is an Iranian-American who was visiting his grandmothers in Iran and never worked for the CIA.
On Sunday, Iran's state TV broadcast video of the younger Hekmati and claimed he was a CIA spy who sought to infiltrate Iran's secret services. The TV said he had received special training and served at U.S. military bases before heading to Iran.
His father, who teaches microbiology at a community college in Flint, Mich., told The Associated Press on Monday his son is a former Arabic translator in the U.S. Marines. He says he's working with attorneys to gain his son's release.
Amir Hekmati's family issued the following statement on Tuesday in response to the Iranian government's allegations that Hekmati is a CIA spy:
"It has been over 100 days since we have last heard from our son and brother, Amir Hekmati, who travelled to Iran on August 14 2011. Amir visited Iran for the first time to meet his elderly grandmothers and relatives.
Amir served in the Marines from 2001-2005. Amir was granted permission to enter the country by the Interests Section of Iran in Washington, D.C. The Iranian government detained Amir on August 29, 2011 without any charges, and urged our family to remain silent with the promise of an eventual release.
Amir's family was shocked by the recent broadcast aired on Iranian TV with false information and a forced confessions. Amir has never had any affiliation with the CIA, and these allegations are untrue. Amir's family hopes that this misunderstanding can be resolved peacefully with Iran, and that Amir can be reunited with his family and friends in the US who miss him dearly, and are praying for his safe return.
We ask the media to respect our privacy during these difficult times. The Hekmati family will issue another statement at an appropriate date. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation."
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