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Sep 11, 2013 4:43 PM by Associated Press

American held in Iran writes letter to John Kerry

DETROIT (AP) - The U.S. State Department says it has received a letter sent to the agency's director by a former Marine held in Iran for two years.

Spokeswoman Jen Psaki (SAH'-kee) told reporters in Washington on Wednesday that the State Department is asking "Iranian authorities to permit a visit by officials of the Swiss Embassy in Tehran to determine the well-being" of Amir Hekmati "and, of course, to release him."

Switzerland represents U.S. diplomatic interests in Iran.

The letter was written by Hekmati to Secretary of State John Kerry and released Wednesday.

In it, the former Michigan resident describes the miserable prison conditions he has endured. He also says Tehran is holding him hostage for use in a possible prisoner exchange.

The handwritten letter was first published Wednesday by Britain's Guardian newspaper.

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