WATCH: Obama demands Iran release Pastor Abedini, USMC Amir Hekmati and Jason Rezaian immediately

AS REPORTED TODAY BY IBT:

U.S. President Barack Obama demanded the immediate release of three American detainees in Iran and called on the Iranian government to help find a fourth American who went missing in the Middle Eastern country eight years ago, the White House said Friday. Obama’s statement came during Nowruz, the Iranian New Year.

“It is a time for reuniting and rejoicing with loved ones and sharing hopes for the new year,” Obama said in a statement Friday. “Today, as families across the world gather to mark this holiday, we remember those American families who are enduring painful separations from their loved ones who are imprisoned or went missing in Iran.”

Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American Christian pastor from Idaho, was jailed in Iran in 2013 for threatening national security by setting up home-based Christian churches in the country. Abedini, who has a wife and two young children in Boise, has so far served two and a half years of his eight-year prison sentence.

Amir Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine from Michigan, was arrested in Tehran while visiting his grandmother in 2011. Hekmati was convicted of espionage. His family in Flint and the U.S. government deny his guilt.

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Obama demands Iran release Pastor Abedini

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