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Montel Williams Is Leading the Charge to Get U.S. Marine Freed from Iranian Prison

"Where is EVERYBODY on this?"

FILE - This undated file photo released by his family via FreeAmir.org shows Amir Hekmati. Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine being held in Iran over the past two years on accusations of spying for the CIA. The semiofficial ISNA news agency reported Saturday, April 12, 2014 that an appeals court has overturned a death sentence of an American man convicted of working for the CIA, instead sentencing him to 10 years in prison. Iran charged Hekmati with receiving special training and serving at U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan before heading to Iran for his alleged mission. Hekmati's father, a professor at a community college in Flint, Michigan, has said his son is not a CIA spy. (AP Photo/Hekmati family via FreeAmir.org, File) AP Photo/Hekmati family via FreeAmir.org, File

On Thursday, speaking from the Rose Garden at the White House, President Obama called the framework for an agreement with Iran on its nuclear program "a good deal."

Secretary of State Kerry also called it a good deal too.

Former talk show host and Marine Corps veteran Montel Williams disagreed with the administration's positive characterization of the proposed deal.

Williams, who served in the U.S. military for eighteen years, was not pleased the administration's negotiations did not include the release of any of the Americans being held by Iran, especially United States Marine Corps veteran Amir Hekmati. Last fall, Williams was instrumental in bringing media attention to the case of another American Marine, Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, who was held in a Mexican prison for eight months.

Williams said the Hekmati case is much worse than Tahmooressi's ordeal. The Iraq war vet has been imprisoned by Iran since 2011. He traveled to Iran to visit his aging grandmother, hoping to see her before she passed away. Within days of his arrival, the Iranian authorities arrested Hekmati, charging him with espionage.

FILE - This undated file photo released by his family via FreeAmir.org shows Amir Hekmati. Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine being held in Iran over the past two years on accusations of spying for the CIA. The semiofficial ISNA news agency reported Saturday, April 12, 2014 that an appeals court has overturned a death sentence of an American man convicted of working for the CIA, instead sentencing him to 10 years in prison. Iran charged Hekmati with receiving special training and serving at U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan before heading to Iran for his alleged mission. Hekmati's father, a professor at a community college in Flint, Michigan, has said his son is not a CIA spy. (AP Photo/Hekmati family via FreeAmir.org, File) AP Photo/Hekmati family via FreeAmir.org, File AP Photo/Hekmati family via FreeAmir.org

An Iranian court found the Arizona-born Marine guilty and sentenced him to death. In 2012, an appeal lead to the Iranian Supreme Court to overturn the spying conviction and death sentence. Last April, Hekmati was found guilty of "cooperating with hostile governments" and given a ten-year sentence.

The U.S. government and Hekmati's family remain steadfast, denying any wrongdoing by the Marine Corps veteran.

As the nuclear deal deadline was approaching, Williams began a public push for the release of Hekmati and other Americans held in Iran. Appearing in prime time programs on both Fox News and MSNBC, Williams wondered why a prisoner release was not part of the negotiations.

On Saturday, Williams joined TheBlaze Radio's "Pure Opelka" to stress the importance of keeping Hekmati's situation in the news; listen below.

Listen to the interview here.

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Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter.

 

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