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Iran offers Pompeo interview with journalist the US detained

Marzieh Hashemi was held and questioned for 10 days in the United States, but now she could find herself probing the secretary of state instead
Press TV reporter Marzieh Hashemi was detained in the US in January (AFP)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this week he would be willing to appear on Iranian TV, and Iran has responded by offering him an interview with a reporter detained in the United States earlier this year. 

Government spokesman Ali Rabiei said Iran does "not shy away from hearing what people say, [even though] what they did to our reporters... is an insult to both the media and discussions".

"Our reporter Ms Marzieh Hashemi can go and interview [Pompeo] so that he can say what he intends to say," Rabiei said. 

Hashemi is a black Muslim convert working for Iran's Press TV, who was arrested in the US in January under a law allowing the detention of people suspected of being potential witnesses in criminal cases.

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Hashemi, who changed her name from Melanie Franklin after her conversion, was released after being held for 10 days.

She later travelled to Iran, and has since accused the United States of violence and discrimination against Muslims and black people.

Tehran has been at loggerheads with Washington since President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran last year and reimposed punishing sanctions which Iran calls "economic terrorism".

The standoff has recently escalated with drones shot down and tankers mysteriously attacked in sensitive Gulf waters.

Pompeo said on Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg that he would "happily" go to Tehran and willingly appear on Iranian television to explain US reasoning behind its sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

In his remarks on Sunday, Rabiei said Pompeo had been "forced" into saying he was ready to appear on Iranian TV because of his counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif's recent round of interviews with US media.