Open Chat... All Day, Every Day! Express Your Views, Debate, and Challenge the Views of Others!

In order to keep up with the nature of free, spirited debate, I wanted to place the chat feature at the top of the homepage. This ensures people can come here and share their views on anything they wish and not have it be related to any specific discussion. Here, people can share ideas, links, and views "unmoderated" and an their own pace. To me, this makes The Elephant in the Room blog truly a place for debate.

Monday, January 9, 2012

What Should the U.S. Do About Its Citizen Being Sentenced to Death in Iran?

U.S. citizen and former Marine Amir Mirzaei Hekmati was accused, tried and has been sentenced to death by an Iranian court for allegedly being a CIA-trained spy. Our thoughts go out to this young man, and we hope something can be done to secure his safe return home.


Fox News:

I'm not entirely sure what to make of MSNBC's article. It seems to imply that Hekmati was a CIA spy:

     - "Last month, Fars reported that the prosecution had applied for capital punishment because the suspect "admitted that he received training in the United States and planned to imply that Iran was involved in terrorist activities in foreign countries" after returning to the U.S.

Hekmati's lawyer, who was identified only by his surname, Samadi, denied the charges, according to the December report.
In court on Dec. 27, Hekmati was quoted by Fars as saying, "I was deceived by the CIA."
"Although I was appointed to break into Iran's intelligence systems and act as a new source for the CIA, I had no intention of undermining the country," Fars quoted Hekmati as saying.
Current and former U.S. government officials told Reuters in November that Iran had succeeded in uncovering the identities of several CIA informants."

What do you think the U.S. should do? What would YOU do if you were president? Is this an Obama issue? A federal agency issue (CIA, FBI, etc.)? Is this a military issue? Give your thoughts, prayers, etc. below. Thank you.


  1. My thoughts and prayers are with this young man. From what I read he was just visiting his grandmother. This is terrible. I wish him a safe return home

  2. If this was any of the GOP candidates except Ron Paul, we would have troops invading and probably nuking Iran right now.

    Oh yah, I feel sorry for the guy, too.

  3. HAHA a Ron Paul troll... Of course he doesn't make sense.

    "If this was any of the GOP candidates" - do you mean if the American sentenced to death was? Or did you mean if any of the GOP candidates were president.

    Go smoke some more pot.

  4. Seal Team 6... where are you? Let's get our boy out! If Iran gets pissed off... who cares?

  5. These disrespectful muslim countries make me sick.

  6. Marines don't leave a man behind. I can't speak for the CIA, but once a Marine always a Marine. Go in there and bring him home!!!!!

  7. Personally I think Iran is a U.N. issue, not a U.S. issue. We cowboyed it in Iraq without the support of the international community and we all know how that turned out. If it were up to me, I'd call for a conference between some of Iran's top officials and the U.N.

  8. Let me guess... you are a Ron Paul supporter. That's fine. With all due respect, if that was your son, would you want to put this in the hands of an unrelated third party? Do you really think the UN can get it done? Especially since we don't know how long after sentencing they execute someone. He might not have much time. No disrespect to ya, just can't agree. Sorry :-/

  9. I believe iran should consider more options before sentencing death to a spy who's apart of a country that tolerates so much 'including' iranian spies that are hardly never sentenced to death.

    Are fight with iran is comming,

  10. Haha anonymous... did I hear a threat in there? Yes, more warmongering from the neo-cons. War is always the answer, huh?

  11. What if we went to talks with the leader and held him captive till our American is released. Would that work. An American life is worth fighting for. I even dout he was a spy. It sickens me to see other Americans say oh well let him be killed, it is his fault. But it is not his fault, it is the fault of the Iran government for allowing religious extremist into the government justice system to make false claims against any American so they can kill. It is in there nature and should not be tolerated.

  12. Who in the hell said he should be killed and it was his fault? I'm not for war, but an innocent American shouldn't die because of this. Tell all those that are saying he should die to come here and I would take them on.

  13. It's on the fox bog site. Damn liberals

  14. War isn't always the answer, sometimes its a fact that talking doesn't protect.

  15. Clarify your last fact?

  16. Yah, didn't really understand it either... "talking doesn't protect?"

  17. Must have been from a liberal.

  18. I may give a very unpopular thought here, but the problem lies in dual citizenship.

    If the military goes in, we are going there to interfere in their laws governing their Citizens (which he is).

    If we don't, we are letting what is also an American Citizen as well as a vet sit there.

    While dual citizenship is recognized, this puts our country in a very tenuous position of damned if we do and damned if we don't.

  19. Mya woof - Thank you for posting and welcome.

    All views are welcomed no matter how "unpopular" they may be. You make good points; thank you for sharing them.

  20. The State Dept. should have a VERY clear warning for all of those that choose to visit Iran. If we have an embassy there, it should be closed so that folks who choose to visit Iran know they are on their own. Further, the government should not issue visas to Iran but in limited capacities (similar to the way Cuba is handled).

    Beyond that, the government should engage in diplomacy as that is the ONLY thing they can do. The comments here are EXTREMELY disturbing. Raid a sovereign nation to extract one of their prisoners? Why not work with Israel and make them earn the support they get from us. I'm sure Israel has a prisoner that Iran or Palestine would like released... work back channels to make it happen. But invading a sovereign nation to extract someone who had their due process (not saying that process is fair) is a great way to lose international support. I even thought it was an 'iffy' proposition when Obama OK'd the invasion of Pakistan to get OBL... but that, in my opinion, had to be done for the greater good of the world.

    In my opinion, people make too many decisions based on emotion. That is the root of evil. Policy must be based on law and of what is right and wrong, not which heart strings are being played at a given time... That's why we now have the Patriot Act (which, in my opinion, is anything but patriotic!).

  21. WhatsamattawithYOUJanuary 9, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    I'd be willing to bet (no not a mitt 10k bet) that if it was your son or relative you would feel differently. You make good points, but I think we should 1 send a message and 2 put more value in an American's life. What do you think?

  22. Whatsamattausa, not only extract a prisoner of theirs. But also requesting we extract a Iranian Citizen.

    Our naturalization process should be like Spain and a few other countries, if you wish to be an American Citizen you not only renounce your allegiance, you also denounce your other citizenship.

    By doing that, US would have every right to go get their citizen.

  23. Oh SNAP! I think Mya woof just checkmated all y'all. Whatsamattausa (not whatsamattawithYOU) made solid points, Mya put the icing on the cake. Enough with war and attacking everyone. But wow, Mya, you kinda just sealed it right there!

  24. @whatsamattawithYOU - I don't disagree with you but, like I said, I don't believe policy should be made on emotion. We cannot go around starting wars every time an American is convicted abroad. If it were my son, I'd want every special teams force on the planet going to rescue him but my desires don't make it right.

    It is examples like these that are the reason I will, unfortunately, NEVER see a middle eastern country. I make that choice for my safety and the peace of mind for my family.

    But you're right, IF it were my kid, I'd certainly WANT something more apparent than diplomacy occurring!

  25. WhatsamattawithYOUJanuary 9, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    Okay - you got a point there.

    I can see where you stand. Hope you don't mind me jacking your screen name

  26. Mya Woof - I don't disagree with you on getting rid of dual citizenship (not sure that I agree either... interesting topic!).

    Either way, the US has no RIGHT to go after its citizen. If I was arrested, charged, and convicted in Columbia for drug charges (whether true or untrue), should the US gov't. send a hit squad to pull me out?

  27. @WhatsamattawithYOU - i'll be expecting royalties :)

  28. Yes Whasamattausa. (ok kidding there)

    I should have been a bit more clear, the claims is that he is a spy. If it turns out he is, and was sent in, then yes we should get that citizen out.

    Normal citizens, nope. If I get my ass in a jam for not following that country's rules and laws, it is that legal system I would have to deal with. I agree with you on that.

    (coming from a family that has four members with dual citizenship)

  29. This veteran is being made an example of. He served honorably, is an American citizen, and he's of Arab descent. The Iranian government is simply making a statement to anyone who is abroad that's of Iranian descent or it's citizens at home... "If you assist the United States in any way and we catch you in Iran...this is your fate." Our government should, in turn, set an example, and send a team in there to extract him. Liberals can wrap the operation around any humanitarian ideal that allows their little minds to allow it to happen.

  30. @Mad Mike -

    When we caught that Russian spy a bunch of months back... Would you have been OK with the Russians sending in an extraction team to US soil?

    Just wondering is what is good for the goose is good for the gander!

  31. If iran commits to the execution of the U.S spy, then the U.S should commit to execute the spies that are caught here.
    Why is the biggest country letting iran get free with the non-since, that kills our brothers and sisters?

  32. @Anonymous (Jan. 9 12:12pm) -

    Seriously? Isn't that somewhat of a childish mentality? 'He did something bad to me so I'm gonna do something bad to them'???

    Being the biggest and most powerful (be it financially or militarily or both) makes it incumbent of the US to show extreme restraint to set as an example for the rest of the world. Did you expect that the biggest, strongest guy in your high school would beat the hell out of anyone who didn't give them what they wanted or perhaps did something they didn't like??? I would hope that's not the mentality!

  33. I go back to my earlier statement in light of the White House saying he is not a spy and was not sent. He last served in 2005, over 6 years ago! Since he is not in the miitary, not there on a special covert ops for the Government, he is a civilian. He will not be "rescued" as one of ours (military service).

    Again, this takes me back to what is said by the Bureau of Consular Affairs and my previous post.

  34. That Iran has detained, tried and convicted one of our citizens (dual citizenship or not)under the charge of being a spy, is in no way new.

    Last year it was the 'student hiker spies.' I could be wrong, but I believe at least one of THEM was released - after Iran was paid a 'ransom.'

    And thereby hangs the tale... Iran has once again effectively put a price on this man's head. The precendent has been set: If Iran is paid handsomely, the 'spy' is set free.

    That said, if he were in MY family, I'd be in constant contact with the State Dept to negotiate and hammer out details... AND THEN I'd put out a call to all citizens to help raise whatever money it took to get him released.

    If I were President - I'd order my State Dept. to negotiate the BEST possible deal and then instruct my SuperPac Reelection Committee - to release the funds to Iran.

    The downside - there are probably laws against spending campaign funds in this manner - but I, as president, have never REALLY worried about any pesky little 'laws'.

    The upside - once the man is freed - LOTS and LOTS of positive press!

  35. The government should learn to stop sacrificing young men and women by inducing them to spy on foreign nations. This young man, if guilty, is being treated similar to the way we would treat a convicted spy from Iran (if it even made the news, and if he wasn't tortured, and if he was given a trial).

  36. What is supposed by which is it will not make any real sense you visiting a
    home loan company to remorgage creating a bad credit history
    and also you've done truly nothing to try to improve your own personal credit scores Not Fake must be loan from the bank can incorporate many
    invisible costs for example interestobligations and also financial costs, plenty of
    people frequently don't use to begin with till it
    could be essential.