The FBI has not issued any statement in response to the reported detention of journalist Marzieh Hashemi, born Melanie Franklin of New Orleans.
Ms Hashemi, who has worked for Iran’s English-language service Press TV for 25 years, was arrested alongside her son, Reza, at St Louis Lambert International Airport on Sunday, the broadcaster said.
The alleged arrest comes as Iran faces its own criticism for detaining dual nationals and others with Western ties, such as jailed Iranian-Briton Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who ended her three-day hunger strike on Wednesday. She was protesting not having access to a doctor and medication.
Using similar campaign techniques to relatives of people being held in Iran, the Islamic Republic held a news conference and has launched a hashtag to highlight Ms Hashemi’s case.
“We will not spare any legal action” to help her, said Paiman Jebeli, deputy chief of Iran’s state IRIB broadcaster.
Press TV said Ms Hashemi had travelled to America “to visit her family members, including her brother, who is suffering from cancer”.
It claims no reason has been provided as to why she is being held and alleges she has been made to remove her hijab, forcing her to cover her hair with a t-shirt.
Ms Hashemi’s brother, Milton Leroy Franklin, who lives in New Orleans, told Associated Press he knows only what his niece has put on Facebook, saying he believes she has been in custody since Sunday.
“We don’t have any detailed information except she’s being held. And her son is being held in a hotel in (Washington) and she’s being held in some form of prison or incarcerated area,” Mr Franklin said.
“I’m very concerned. There’s no way of getting any word to her and she can’t send any out, apparently. We’re all in the dark and just waiting and praying that they release her.”
Lambert airport spokesman Jeff Lea declined to comment and referred questions to the FBI. He said he could not confirm what flight she arrived on or when.
St Louis police said they were not involved and the FBI headquarters in Washington did not respond to requests for comment, AP reported.
Last week, Iran confirmed it is holding US Navy veteran Michael R White at a prison in the country, making him the first American known to be detained under President Donald Trump’s administration.
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