Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif spoke to Press TV (Iran) on January 16, 2019 about the U.S. government's recent arrest of Press TV anchor Marzieh Hashemi during her visit to the United States. Zarif said that Hashemi is an Iranian citizen because her late husband was Iranian, and that therefore Iran has to right to look after her interests. He said that she is wrongfully imprisoned and that her arrest is a "clear affront to freedom of expression" and "political abuse of an innocent individual." He concluded that the U.S. should release Hashemi without further delay. According to Press TV, Hashemi was arrested on January 13 at St. Louis Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, Missouri before being transferred to Washington, D.C. by the FBI. She was reportedly visiting the U.S. in order to see her family and her sick brother. Hashemi, born Melanie Franklin, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1959, and she moved to Iran in 2008.
Javad Zarif: First of all, Mrs. Hashemi is also an Iranian citizen because of the nationality of her late husband. That is why we have a right to continue to look after her interests as an Iranian citizen who has been wrongfully imprisoned in the United States. She is a famous journalist. She has done nothing but journalism. The arrest of Mrs. Hashemi is a very clear affront to freedom of expression [and is] a political abuse of an innocent individual. I believe that the United States should release her immediately, without further delay.