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Iranian journalist Marzieh Hashemi returns to Tehran after US detention

Published: Updated:

A US-born journalist working for Iran’s English-language television station Press TV returned to the Islamic Republic on Wednesday night after 10 days of detention in the US. Marzieh Hashemi arrived at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport and was greeted by over a hundred people.

Most of the crowd were Iranian women dressed in black veils and holding anti-American posters, while loudspeakers played revolutionary songs and anthems in the background, an AFP reporter at the airport said.

“Welcome voice of the oppressed,” read one sign, with another saying “Marzieh is freed, America is shamed.” Disembarking from a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt, Hashemi came down the stairs with a floral wreath around her neck, as supporters clapped for her. “I missed Iran so much,” she said.

“Now is not the proper time to speak about why I was arrested, I will explain why at an appropriate time,” she added. A Muslim convert who changed her name from Melanie Franklin, she was arrested upon arrival at St. Louis Lambert International Airport on January 13.

Hashemi had reportedly flown to visit her ill brother and other family members. Press TV said she was released a week ago. She was arrested on a “material arrest warrant” and was to be let go after she gave testimony to a grand jury investigating unspecified “violations of US criminal law,” according to a US court.

It is not yet clear if she gave evidence before being released. Prominent conservative political figure Gholami-Ali Haddad-Adel was at the airport among the crowd, and described Hashemi’s arrest as “just like other acts” by US President Donald Trump.

“It is another instance of 40 years of enmity by America with a nation that had a revolution to get independence,” he told AFP. The Trump administration pulled out of a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal with Iran last year and re-imposed sanctions.