Wednesday, May 09, 2007

US Academic among those detained in Iran

US accuses Iran of Harassment.

Iran has detained a well-known Iranian-American academic and is preventing two other dual citizens from leaving the country, a US official said on Wednesday, calling on Tehran to allow the three to return home. Haleh Esfandiari, director of the Middle East Program at the Smithsonian Institution's Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars, was detained on Tuesday, according to the Centre.

A dual US-Iranian national who has lived in the United States for more than 25 years, Esfandiari returned to Iran in December to visit her ailing mother and has since been prevented from leaving by authorities. She was jailed in Tehran's Evin prison on Tuesday, the Centre said in a statement.

It said there had been no news on any charges filed against her. State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack confirmed the Iranian action against Esfandiari and said Iran had also confiscated the passport of two other Iranian-American women to prevent them from leaving the country, including a correspondent for the US government-funded Radio Farda, Parnaz Azima. The third woman was not identified.

More at the link.