From New Orleans to Tehran: Life of detained Iran newscaster

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — She is largely unknown in the United States. But the American anchorwoman for Iran’s state-run broadcaster, detained last weekend by U.S. authorities, is a familiar face on its English-language channel.

As a newscaster for Press TV, Marzieh Hashemi has been conducting interviews and reading the news as written by government loyalists in the Islamic Republic. It’s a long way from New Orleans, where she was born Melanie Franklin in 1959 to a Christian family.

In college in Louisiana, encounters with Iranian students in the wake of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution saw her convert to Islam. A marriage brought her to Iran, where she learned fluent Farsi and began working for the country’s state broadcaster 25 years ago.

Her journalism and her public comments mirror her host country’s official ideology.