TEHRAN, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- The spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry Saeed Khatibzadeh denounced on Wednesday "blatant hostage-taking of Iranian national" by the U.S. government, semi-official Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA) reported.
Khatibzadeh made the remarks during a visit to the agency's offices in Tehran, when asked about the arrest in the U.S. of Iranian university professor Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi for allegedly acting as an unregistered "foreign agent" on behalf of Tehran.
"Unfortunately, the U.S. is addicted to this kind of actions and they take hostages under any pretext," the spokesman said.
Iran's government, he further noted, hopes the new U.S. administration will move away from such approach, that Khatibzadeh linked to former President Donald Trump.
Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi, he went on to say, is a well-known university professor who has been arrested on "unrealistic charges."
This is not, the official went on, the first time that Washington has relied on "baseless allegations" to "create trouble" for Iranian citizens in different countries and "take hostages."
Khatibzadeh voiced hope that the Iranian professor's problem will be solved as soon as possible.
Afrasiabi, a U.S. resident for more than three decades according to American media press reports, was taken into custody by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), on the accusation that he violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), Washington Post daily reported on Tuesday.