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United States frees American-born anchor of Iran's Press TV

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DUBAI (Reuters) – An American-born anchor for Iran’s state-run Press TV was released after 10 days of detention in the United States as a material witness in an undisclosed U.S. federal investigation, the English-language news channel reported on Thursday.

There has been tension between Iran and the United States since U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision last May to pull out of an international nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.

“Marzieh Hashemi has been released from her detention without charge and is with her family in Washington D.C.,” state television said, quoting a statement issued by the family soon after she was freed on Wednesday.

“They still have serious grievances and they want assurances that this won’t happen to any Muslim – or any other person – ever again.”

Hashemi will stay in Washington DC for a protest on Friday and she urged protesters in cities across the world to stick to their plans for the protest, Press TV said in a statement.

Hashemi, 59, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at St. Louis Lambert International Airport and transferred to a detention centre in Washington D.C., where she was held for two days before managing to contact her family, Press TV said.

U.S. federal law allows the government to arrest and detain a witness if it can prove their testimony is material to a criminal proceeding and it cannot guarantee their presence through a subpoena.

Hashemi was born Melanie Franklin in the United States and changed her name after converting to Islam. She received Iranian citizenship after marrying an Iranian. She had travelled to the United States to visit her family, Press TV said.

Several Iranian dual nationals from Austria, Britain, Canada, France and the United States have been detained in the past few years in Iran on charges such as espionage and collaborating with hostile governments.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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