Senators Smith & Clinton Introduce Resolution Calling for Immediate Release of Iranian American Scholar
Washington, D.C. - Senators Gordon H. Smith (R-OR) and Hillary R. Clinton (D-NY) today introduced a resolution (S.RES.199) calling for the immediate and unconditional release of renowned scholar Dr. Haleh Esfandiari by the Iranian government.
Esfandiari was arrested in Tehran on May 8th after being barred from leaving Iran. She is believed to be held without charge in section 209 of Evin Prison, which is run by the Ministry of Intelligence. Esfandiari traveled to Iran in December to visit her ailing 93 year old mother.
“Incarcerating Haleh Esfandiari damages Ahmadinejad’s relations with the world, it does not improve them," said Senator Smith. "Dr. Esfandiari should be released immediately. Her harassment has gone on far too long.”
“Dr. Esfandiari has made significant contributions to the body of research on international women's issues, contemporary Iranian politics, and democratic developments in the Middle East. Her imprisonment contradicts the very essence of her work,” said Senator Clinton. “I am urging the government of Iran to release Dr. Esfandiari and call upon the Administration to raise the plight of Dr. Esfandiari with the international community."
The resolution condemns the arrest, interrogation, and imprisonment of Esfandiari. It calls for her immediate, safe, and unconditional release from custody by the Iranian government.
Esfandiari serves as Director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. In addition, Parnaz Azima, an Iranian American journalist for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, has had her passport confiscated by Iranian authorities. She has reportedly been told that she may not be able to leave the country for up to three years.