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9/5/07

Radio Farda Broadcaster Says Her Case Still Open

September 5, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Radio Farda broadcaster Parnaz Azima, who has been prevented from leaving Iran for seven months, says her case remains open and she continues to face legal difficulties even though she received permission this week to leave the country.


Parnaz Azima

Azima spoke to Radio Farda on September 4 shortly after she picked up her passport, which had been taken from her when she arrived in January.

"I asked [the Iranian authorities] whether my bail issue would be resolved. They said 'no.' The bail issue remains and [the authorities said] that my case remains open," she said. "It means that my lawyer should contact them and they will set a date for the trial. For now I cannot predict the decision the Intelligence Ministry or the judiciary will make in my case."

Authorities returned Azima's passport on September 4, one day after Iranian-American Haleh Esfandiari, who had been released on bail on August 21 after spending three months in jail, was able to leave the country.

Esfandiari, the Middle East program director of the Woodrow Wilson Institute, was detained in May on security charges.

Tehran had prevented Azima from leaving Iran for the past several months and charged her with disseminating propaganda against the Iranian state.

Azima told Radio Farda today that she will leave Iran and return to her life in Prague as soon as possible.

Other Iranian-Americans Still Detained

Meanwhile, two other Iranian-Americans remain in jail in Tehran.

On September 4, Iranian Judge Hossein Hadad was quoted as saying that one of them, Kian Tajbakhsh, who has been detained in Tehran on spying charges since May, will be released on bail when the investigation is complete.

Tajbakhsh is a consultant with the Open Society Institute, founded by billionaire investor George Soros.

"The Washington Post" reported today that the institute said on September 4 that Iran's detention of Tajbakhsh is "unconscionable," especially because Iranian officials had told his family that he would be released last week.

There is no news about Ali Shakeri, a peace activist from California who has also been in jail in Iran since May.

Several human-rights groups and a number of U.S. politicians have called on Iran to release the detained Iranian-Americans and let them leave the country.


Copyright (c) 2007 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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