A longtime television anchor in Iran is a potential witness in the espionage case against Monica Witt, a former Air Force counterintelligence specialist who defected to Iran, The Washington Post is reporting.
Marzieh Hashemi had been taken into custody by the FBI at St. Louis Lambert International Airport in late January, the newspaper said. She was detained for 10 days without being charged with a crime. She was eventually released and returned to Iran.
According to court records reviewed by the newspaper, Hashemi, who was born in the United States, had been held on a material-witness warrant – indicating prosecutors needed her to testify before a grand jury.
The newspaper said one possible explanation surfaced when authorities disclosed a grand jury had brought charges again Witt.
The indictment noted Witt’s communications with “Individual A” -- a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen who allegedly was helping Iranian intelligence.
Officials would not say whether Hashemi was “Individual A.” However, the Post noted she does maintain dual citizenship.
Hashemi, who was born Melanie Franklin and grew up in New Orleans, could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department has said Witt defected in 2013 after attending a conference in Iran aimed at “condemning American moral standards.” She is currently at-large. She is charged with revealing classified information to Iran.