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Iranian TV Anchor Back In Tehran After U.S. Detention

Marzieh Hashemi, a U.S.-born anchor for Iran's state-run Press TV, returned to Tehran on January 30. (file photo)
Marzieh Hashemi, a U.S.-born anchor for Iran's state-run Press TV, returned to Tehran on January 30. (file photo)

A U.S.-born anchor for Iran's state-run, English-language television station has returned to Iran after 10 days of detention in the United States.

Marzieh Hashemi, who was released on January 23, was greeted by more than 100 people upon her arrival at Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport on January 30.

Her detention, which began on January 13, had concerned international journalist watchdogs and angered Tehran, which said she was being illegally held and called for her immediate release.

According to federal court documents made public on January 18, the 59-year-old Hashemi, who works for Press TV, was detained as a material witness and was not being charged with a crime, though it was unclear for which case.

Hashemi's son has said she was detained by federal agents on January 13 in St. Louis, Missouri, where she had filmed a Black Lives Matter documentary. Black Lives Matter is a movement demanding equal rights for black Americans.

A majority of people at the Tehran airport to greet her were Iranian women dressed in black veils and holding anti-American signs, according to an AFP reporter at the site.

"Welcome voice of the oppressed," read one sign, with another saying "Marzieh is freed, America is shamed."

Upon arrival, Hashemi told the crowd, "I missed Iran so much."

"Now is not the proper time to speak about why I was arrested, I will explain why at an appropriate time," she added.

Hashemi was born as Melanie Franklin in New Orleans and became an Iranian citizen through marriage. Her son said she lives in Tehran and travels to the United States about once a year.

Tensions between the United States and Iran continue to be high. President Donald Trump has accused Iran of fomenting militant violence in the region and of attempting to develop nuclear weapons, allegations Tehran denies.

The Trump administration pulled out of a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal with Iran last year and reimposed sanctions that have taken a heavy toll on the Iranian economy.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters