LSU grad, Iran state TV English channel anchor held in US
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The FBI has arrested a former LSU student and well-known anchorwoman from Iranian State television during her visit to the U.S.
Marzieh Hashemi, who worked for the network’s English-language service, was detained in St. Louis, where she had filmed a Black Lives Matter documentary after visiting relatives in the New Orleans area. She was then taken to Washington.
The son of the American-born anchor says his mother would have been willing to cooperate with the FBI and did not need to be jailed as a material witness.
Hussein 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.
The FBI spokesperson said in an email that they have no comment on the arrest.
Iran’s state broadcaster held a news conference and launched a hashtag campaign for Hashemi, using the same techniques families with loved ones held in the Islamic Republic use to highlight their cases.
“We will not spare any legal action” to help her, said Paiman Jebeli, deputy chief of Iran’s state IRIB broadcaster.
Marzieh Hashemi was born Melanie Franklin of New Orleans but has lived in Iran for decades, working 25 years for Iran's state broadcaster.
Hashemi studied journalism at Louisiana State University and graduated in 1981. She converted to Islam in 1982 at age 22 after meeting Iranian activist students in Denver.