Iran General NewsSenators appeal to U.N. on Iran detainees

Senators appeal to U.N. on Iran detainees

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Washington Post: The 16 female U.S. senators appealed to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon yesterday to take “urgent action” with Iran to win the release of imprisoned American scholar Haleh Esfandiari and journalist Parnaz Azima, who has been refused permission to leave the country. Washington Post

By Robin Wright
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, May 19, 2007; A13

The 16 female U.S. senators appealed to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon yesterday to take “urgent action” with Iran to win the release of imprisoned American scholar Haleh Esfandiari and journalist Parnaz Azima, who has been refused permission to leave the country.

“The detention of these women is inexplicable and unjustifiable,” the senators said in a letter to Ban. “Detaining Dr. Esfandiari and Ms. Azima on questionable grounds contradicts the very essence of their work: to promote peace, reconciliation and freedom for all. We urge you to intervene . . . in order to end their unjust detention.”

Esfandiari, a Potomac resident and director of Middle East programs at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, was imprisoned in Tehran on May 8 after more than four months under house arrest. Azima, a correspondent for U.S.-funded Radio Farda, had her passport confiscated and has been refused permission to leave Iran since January. Both women hold U.S. and Iranian citizenship.

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