Iran says newscaster detained in US has ‘done nothing but journalism’

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Iran’s foreign minister on Thursday spoke out against the apparent arrest of an American newscaster for Iran’s state-run English-language television channel, The Associated Press reported, calling her detention an “affront to freedom of expression.”

“She is a famous journalist, she’s done nothing but journalism,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Press TV, the station that employs Marzieh Hashemi.

The broadcaster and Hashemi’s family have said that she was detained over the weekend by the FBI. The FBI said Thursday it had no comment on the matter.

{mosads}“The arrest of Ms. Hashemi is a very clear affront to freedom of expression, a political abuse of an innocent individual and I believe the United States should release her immediately without further delay,” Zarif said. 

The Associated Press reported that Vatan-e Emrooz, a hard-line Iranian newspaper, likened the detention to “Saudi-style behavior with a critical journalist.” Saudi Arabia has been at the center of an international firestorm following the murder of Saudi dissident journalist and U.S.-resident Jamal Khashoggi last year.

The Associated Press reported that Hashemi was born in New Orleans and holds Iranian citizenship, but Iranian law does not recognize dual nationalities.

Iran has faced international pressure over its detention of American citizens and other foreigners. The country earlier this month confirmed it had arrested U.S. Navy veteran Michael White.

The Trump administration has taken a hard-line stance against Iran, pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions on the country. The moves have led to increased tensions between the two countries.

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