Iran detainee's mom questions alleged confession

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WASHINGTON - The mother of an Iranian-American detained in Iran for four months on espionage charges says his alleged confession was made under duress.

Behnaz Hekmati says her son, Amir, a former U.S. military translator, was in Iran to visit his two grandmothers and that the charges against him make no sense.

Iranian prosecutors say Hekmati was working for the CIA. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

In a statement provided to The Associated Press on Wednesday, Behnaz Hekmati appealed to Iranian authorities to treat him fairly and provide him due process.

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"It is clear to me and our entire family that Amir is speaking under duress," she said.

"The statement from the courts that Amir planned on permanently leaving the United States to reside in Iran is totally false. It is an indication that he is not speaking freely but being forced to say something that isn't true."

Behnaz Hekmati said her son has financial and business investments in the U.S. and "would never walk away from them."

"In this environment Amir is a victim. We are convinced that there is a mistake or misunderstanding," she said. "We pray and hope he will be allowed to come home soon."

The State Department has called for Hekmati's release and said on Wednesday that it was still waiting for Iranian authorities to grant Swiss diplomats access to him in prison.

Spokesman Mark Toner said the Swiss, who represent U.S. interests in Iran, have been denied access to Hekmati three times. Hekmati has been detained since August.

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