The parents of a Greek journalist arrested in Iran appealed for their son’s release. Iranian state-run TV has confirmed the arrest of Jason Athanasiadis, who was reporting for the Washington Times. It is the first known arrest of a journalist who does not hold Iranian citizenship.

Athanasiadis’ parents, Polymnia Athanasiadi and Georgios Fowden, issued a statement to news agencies in Athens through a family friend early Thursday.

“Jason is a dedicated reporter, photographer and filmmaker who grew up in Greece and regards himself as Greek,” they said, adding that they were “deeply grateful” for the Greek Foreign Ministry’s efforts to secure his release.

“Jason has always maintained his integrity as an independent journalist who sells articles, photographs and film to outlets in many parts of the world” they said in their statement. “His work serves no purpose other than the fair and humane coverage of life in the many countries where he has worked.

He has a particular love of Iran, and a deep respect for its cultural and religious traditions.”

The Greek Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that Athens had complained to Iranian authorities over the arrest of a Greek journalist.

A number of journalists have been detained in Iran since the protests began, though there have been conflicting accounts.

The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders put the figure at 34. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said 13 were in custody.