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Press TV news anchor returns to Tehran after 10-day detention in US

FBI arrested and detained US-born journalist Marzieh Hashemi earlier this month as part of undisclosed federal investigation
Prior to Hashemi's release, protesters gathered in Washington on 23 January to demand she be freed (AFP)

A US-born anchor for Iran’s state-run Press TV has returned to Iran after 10 days of detention in the United States, Reuters news agency reported.

The channel aired live footage of Marzieh Hashemi's arrival at Tehran's Imam Khomeini airport on Wednesday, where a crowd greeted her with flowers.

Hashemi testified as a material witness in an undisclosed federal investigation, a US federal court order said last Thursday, when she was freed.

Hashemi, 59, was arrested by the FBI at St. Louis Lambert International Airport in mid-January and transferred to a detention centre in Washington DC, where she was held for two days before managing to contact her family, Press TV said.

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"Her relatives were unable to contact her, and she was allowed to contact her daughter only two days after her arrest," Press TV reported at the time of her arrest. 

"[Hashemi] told her daughter that she was handcuffed and shackled and was being treated like a criminal."

Press TV said that Hashemi had gone to the US to visit her terminally ill brother. The channel also said US officials had prevented her from wearing her hijab and had offered only pork, prohibited in Islam, as a meal. 

Middle East Eye could not independently verify these claims.

Hashemi has been living in Iran for years and is a Muslim convert, according to Press TV.

Formerly known as Melanie Franklin, she appears regularly on the channel as an anchor and documentary filmmaker.

Hashemi's detention added to ongoing tension between Tehran and Washington since US President Donald Trump’s decision last May to pull out of an international nuclear deal meant to curb Iran's nuclear programme.

The Trump administration also reimposed economic sanctions on Tehran last fall.