Iran sets Greek reporter free

Iran confirmed yesterday that it was due to release Greek journalist Iason Athanasiadis, held in Tehran since June 19 on charges of stirring up protests in the aftermath of the country’s disputed presidential elections. Athanasiadis, who was working for the Washington Times at the time of his arrest but has contributed to Kathimerini and Athens News in the past, has British as well as Greek nationality but his family preferred Greece to handle the negotiations for his release from custody. Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis expressed «profound satisfaction» at Athanasiadis’s release, which she said came after «close and frequent contacts with the Iranian ministry.» Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi said that the journalist had been arrested for «activities that were contradictory to journalism and in connection with the recent street riots.» He added that Athanasiadis’s release had been due to the «goodwill» exerted by Iran’s ambassador in Athens, Mehdi Honardoost. Athanasiadis was expected to leave Tehran for Athens last night.