“The United States administration, they always, every journalist or every news agency or media or TV channel that does not speak in their language and does not talk what they want, they call it propaganda. If it is the Iranian media or it is the Syrian media or any other media in the world that does not go with what they want, they call it propaganda but the number one propaganda is their media and their news agencies,” Steven Sahiounie told Press TV in an interview on Saturday.
“What the United States is trying to do by arresting Ms. Hashemi, that is against the law for arresting without giving charges or even arresting a person who is just a witness. So what the United States is doing is a political message to Iran, it is just trying to [put] pressure on Iran … so they can sit [at] the negotiating table as the rules of the United States. That is not going to happen because Iran has been through much more pressure and went out of it victorious,” he added.
Hashemi, a 59-year-old US citizen who has been living in Iran for years, was detained last week while she was in the United States to visit her ill brother and other family members, Presstv reported.
After days of silence, the US government confirmed Friday that it has been holding Hashemi in jail since Sunday as a “material witness” and that she will be released after she testifies before a grand jury.
Her elder son Hossein, however, said she was unlikely to be freed soon. So far, the Press TV news presenter has appeared twice before a US district judge in Washington.
American authorities are now turning their focus on Press TV, Iran’s English-language news network.
A US government source told Reuters that the grand jury in Hashemi's case is to examine on Wednesday whether Press TV is a propaganda outlet that failed to register with the Justice Department as a “foreign agent.”
Her children - Hossein, Sarah and Reza - are also due to appear before the grand jury on the same day, after a Friday session was postponed.
US-based analysts appearing regularly on Press TV believe either US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo or hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton has ordered the arrest and other possible action against the broadcaster.
The targeting of Press TV comes amid a stepped-up US pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic under the administration of President Donald Trump.