Sarah Hekmati (L) and her husband Dr. Ramy Kurdi, are seen on September 22, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/DAVID KARP
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The family of a former U.S. Marine imprisoned in Iran since his arrest three years ago on spying charges said his conditions have improved and he is now allowed to call home several times a week.The sister and brother-in-law of Amir Hekmati acknowledge that's a big step forward for a man who spent his first 16 months held in solitary confinement in Iran's notorious Evin prison, north of the capital, Tehran. Hekmati appealed, and Iran's Supreme Court annulled the death sentence and ordered a retrial in 2012 .The U.S. government repeatedly has denied that Hekmati is a spy. Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei, Hekmati's lawyer in Iran, has said he would appeal his client's 10-year prison sentence. Kurdi said one of the many options being considered was seeking a pardon for Hekmati.The regular phone calls back home, which began about a month ago, have helped the family and Hekmati handle their grief.
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