Iran General NewsIran says judge to decide next week on U.S.-Iranians

Iran says judge to decide next week on U.S.-Iranians

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Reuters: An Iranian judge will next week decide whether to indict or free three American-Iranians accused of acting against national security, a judiciary spokesman said on Tuesday. TEHRAN (Reuters) – An Iranian judge will next week decide whether to indict or free three American-Iranians accused of acting against national security, a judiciary spokesman said on Tuesday.

Alireza Jamshidi said preliminary investigations would be finalized in two or three days. “Next week the judge will decide whether to free them or to indict them,” he added.

Jamshidi denied that one of the detainees, academic Haleh Esfandiari, had been prevented from gaining access to her lawyer, Iranian Nobel Peace prize winner Shirin Ebadi.

“She (Ebadi) can come right now and take on the case,” the judiciary spokesman told a news conference, after being asked to comment on Ebadi’s statement on Monday that her client was unable to contact her.

Iran has accused Esfandiari and three other Iranian-Americans of activities aimed at undermining the government of the Islamic Republic. Three have been detained and a fourth has been freed on bail.

The cases have further heightened tension between Iran and the United States at a time of a deepening international standoff over Tehran’s nuclear program, which the West suspects is aimed at making atom bombs. Iran denies this.

The United States, which broke diplomatic ties with Iran shortly after the 1979 Islamic revolution, has called for the release of the Iranian-Americans and denied they are spies.

Iran, which does not recognize dual nationalities, has told Washington the arrests are none of its concern.

Tehran says Washington is using intellectuals and others to carry out a “soft revolution” to topple the Islamic state.

The Iranian judiciary said last month that Esfandiari, social scientist Kian Tajbakhsh and journalist Parnaz Azima were accused of spying.

A judicial source later said Azima was detained for cooperating with “anti-revolutionary” media but freed on bail.

Iran earlier this week also said it is holding Ali Shakeri, who an Iranian news agency said was being detained on “security-related charges”.

Shakeri is a founding member of the University of California Center for Citizen Peacebuilding. The center’s Web site says he is an “an Iranian-American activist who advocates Democracy in Iran and peace in the world”.

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