AP NEWS

The Latest: Son: Jailed Iran state TV anchor would help FBI

January 16, 2019
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A woman weeps while a video clip is shown about an American-born news anchor working for Iranian state television's English-language service, Marzieh Hashemi, during a press briefing by Paiman Jebeli, deputy chief of Iran's state IRIB broadcaster, in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. Hashemi has been arrested after flying into the U.S., the broadcaster reported Wednesday. The reported detention of Press TV's Hashemi, born Melanie Franklin of New Orleans, comes as Iran faces increasing criticism of its own arrests of dual nationals and others with Western ties. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Latest on detention of American-born news anchor for Iran’s state television (all times local):

3:25 p.m.

The son of an American-born anchor for Iran’s state television broadcaster says his mother would have been willing to cooperate with the FBI and did not need to be jailed as a material witness.

Hossein Hashemi tells The Associated Press on Wednesday that his mother had not been contacted by the FBI before she was stopped in St. Louis and taken into custody earlier this week.

Hashemi, his brother and sister have been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury.

He says no one in his family can fathom why Marzieh Hashemi would be considered a material witness for federal investigators. The 59-year-old hasn’t been charged with a crime.

Marzieh Hashemi was born Melanie Franklin of New Orleans but has lived in Iran for decades, working 25 years for Iran’s state broadcaster.

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11:20 a.m.

The elder son of an American-born news anchor for Iran’s state television broadcaster says his mother is being held in the United States, but has not been charged with anything.

Marzieh Hashemi’s son, Hossein Hashemi, tells The Associated Press that he’s been told his mother is being held as a material witness, but she’s in prison and has been assigned an inmate number.

Interviewed by phone Wednesday from Washington, he also says that he and his brother and sister have been subpoenaed to testify to a grand jury, but he doesn’t know what about.

Marzieh Hashemi was born Melanie Franklin of New Orleans but has lived in Iran for decades, working 25 years for Iran’s state broadcaster.

Hossein Hashemi says she was detained Sunday, as she was leaving St. Louis for Denver. He says she had filmed a Black Lives Matter documentary in St. Louis after visiting family in New Orleans.

Press TV has held a news conference and launched a hashtag campaign for Hashemi.

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3:22 a.m.

The English-language arm of Iran’s state television broadcaster is reporting that its prominent American-born news anchor was arrested after flying into the United States.

Press TV broke into its broadcast on Wednesday to report that Marzieh Hashemi, born Melanie Franklin of New Orleans, was arrested after arriving at St. Louis Lambert International Airport on Sunday.

The broadcaster, citing her family, said Hashemi was taken into FBI custody and brought to the Washington area.

A call to the FBI rang unanswered early on Wednesday morning. The bureau did not immediately respond to a written request for comment. Several local jails around Washington that house federal inmates also said they did not have her in custody.

Hashemi’s reported arrest comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the U.S.

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The 11:20 a.m. item has been corrected by deleting “Press TV” from the fourth paragraph. Marzieh Hashemi has worked for Iran’s state broadcaster for 25 years; Press TV is part of that entity.

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This story corrects the spelling of Hashemi’s son’s first name in the 11:25 and 3:25 p.m. items from Hussein to Hossein.

All contents © copyright 2019 The Associated Press.All rights reserved.
1 of 5
A woman weeps while a video clip is shown about an American-born news anchor working for Iranian state television's English-language service, Marzieh Hashemi, during a press briefing by Paiman Jebeli, deputy chief of Iran's state IRIB broadcaster, in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. Hashemi has been arrested after flying into the U.S., the broadcaster reported Wednesday. The reported detention of Press TV's Hashemi, born Melanie Franklin of New Orleans, comes as Iran faces increasing criticism of its own arrests of dual nationals and others with Western ties. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)