Reporter tells of Iran trouble

A British-Greek journalist released from jail in Iran said he was blindfolded, held in solitary confinement and subjected to frequent interrogations. Iason Athanasiadis said the corridors of Tehran’s main Evin prison were filled with demonstrators arrested during massive rallies that followed Iran’s disputed June 12 presidential election. He said he was held there for 18 days and questioned for alleged spying. «It was full to bursting with people who had been arrested in the street riots,» Athanasiadis said in an interview after his return to Athens. «There were people sitting in rows on the floor… there were others being interrogated at little desks in the corridor because the interrogation rooms were full,» he said. «I heard questions and shouts coming from the interrogation rooms and the occasional slap.» Athanasiadis said he was detained and questioned by officials from Iran’s Intelligence Ministry and was generally treated well, except for being slapped once during an early interrogation. He was released on July 5. Athanasiadis, 30, is a freelance reporter who had been working for The Washington Times. He said he was kept alone in a continually lit 1.5-meter by 2.5-meter cell and subjected to about a dozen lengthy interrogations, most while blindfolded. On Wednesday, Athanasiadis met with Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and thanked her for playing a key role in ending his imprisonment. He also thanked Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios for his appeal to Iranian authorities. «There was an amazing show [of support] by Greek diplomacy, also using unorthodox and interesting pressure points,» he said. «The ecumenical patriarch coming up in my support is something I’m going to be eternally grateful for.»