Iranian President Hassan Rouhani grew "uncomfortable" during a forum in New York City Wednesday when grilled with questions pertaining to social issues, such as the detainment of a Washington Post reporter who has been held for more than two months.
The Iranian leader, who has been portrayed as a moderate, would not disclose charges against reporter Jason Rezaian, who has been held with his wife in Tehran since July 22.
“The individual who you name is being investigated. He is in detention being investigated. During this time a multitude of things can change,” Rouhani said. “At a time when a file, a case, is being built and the prosecutor is working hard to send that case file to the appropriate court, only then will everyone be informed as to what the actual charges are."
“Any individual who is brought up on any charges or detained, all these steps must be in accordance with the laws of the country,” he added. “We must not prematurely express any opinions about a case file that has not reached the court yet.”
Bloomberg News reporter Kambiz Foroohar said on Twitter the exchange made the Iranian president "most uncomfortable."
Rouhani uncomfortable answering social issues, like Happy video arrests or Jason Rezaian case— kambiz foroohar (@kambizf) September 24, 2014
Zakaria grills Rouhani about Rezaian. President most uncomfortable— kambiz foroohar (@kambizf) September 24, 2014
Rouhani also dodged a question about a group of individuals jailed for producing a video singing the popular "Happy" song by Pharrell.
“I’m not certain what this thing you’re referring to was, how many people danced,” he said.
Protester Ali Abdi holds pic of UK-Iranian Rouhani supporter Goncheh Ghavami jailed in Tehran for watching volleyball pic.twitter.com/4co34m9O4L— Robert Mackey (@RobertMackey) September 24, 2014
During the forum, individuals in attendance held photos up of individuals who have been detained in Iran. The Iranian president was in New York for the annual U.N. General Assembly.
Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter