The family of US-born ex-Marine Amir Hekmati says their son has been in Iranian custody since late August and Iranian authorities ordered them to "be silent" about his arrest if they ever want to see him again. Hekmati, 28, appeared in a broadcast on Iranian TV over the weekend in which he confessed to being a spy for the CIA. His family say they are shocked by the "false information and forced confessions," ABC reports.
Hekmati's family say he was arrested while making his first-ever visit to Iran to meet his grandparents. "My son is no spy. He is innocent. He's a good fellow, a good citizen, a good man," says his father, a microbiology professor in Michigan. The Iranian broadcast described Hekmati as having been trained in military intelligence for 10 years by the US Army, but his service record contradicts the Iranian description. The CIA declined to comment, but one US official said: "Whoever this young American is, he is obviously under duress and in the hands of an enemy. His safety is paramount."