Marziyeh Hashemi
Marziyeh Hashemi

Iran requested Wednesday the release of a prominent American-born journalist who was reportedly arrested in the U.S.

Iran's English-language Press TV reported Marziyeh Hashemi, who is employed by the news outlet, was detained at an airport Sunday in the Midwestern U.S. city of St. Louis and was being held in Washington.

She has not been formally charged, the report said, and U.S. law enforcement agencies did not immediately comment on her reported arrest.

A video clip is shown about American-born news anchor on Iranian state television's English-language service, Marzieh Hashemi, during a press briefing by Paiman Jebeli, deputy chief of Iran's state IRIB broadcaster, in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Jan. 1
Iran State TV’s English Channel Says Anchorwoman Held in US
A prominent American anchorwoman on Iranian state television’s English-language service has been arrested after flying into the U.S., the broadcaster reported Wednesday. U.S.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi told state TV the arrest of Hashemi, a black Muslim woman, is an example of the "apartheid and racist policy" of U.S. President Donald Trump's administration.

Press TV quotes Hashemi as saying prison officials have not allowed her to wear a hijab, a head covering worn in public by some Muslim women, and was only giving her pork to eat, which is prohibited by Islam. These accounts of her treatment have not been independently verified.

Hashemi is a native of the southern city of New Orleans. Her birth name is Melanie Franklin. Several Iranian media outlets reported Hashemi has lived in Iran for more than a decade. She has reported on discrimination against women, Muslims and African-Americans in the U.S.

Her arrest comes as Iran faces mounting criticism for arresting dual nationals and others with Western ties in an effort to gain leverage in negotiations with global powers.

Iran confirmed last week it has detained U.S. Navy veteran Michael White at a prison in the country, the first American known to be detained under Trump's administration. Four other American citizens are known to be held in Iran, including Iranian-American Siamak Namazi and his father, both serving 10-year sentences on espionage convictions.