IRAN:Charges Against Renowed Scholar Called "Absurd"
Below is my latest piece on the arrest of Dr. Haleh Esfandiari, a prominent scholar who had been imprisoned in Iran last week:
"BERKELEY, United States, May 15 (IPS) - The arrest of Dr. Haleh Esfandiari, Middle East programme director at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Centre, by Iranian security forces in Tehran on May 8 has sparked grave concerns among Iranian-Americans with dual citizenship who travel to Iran.
In the last two years, there has been a wave of arrests and accusations of espionage against Iranian scholars, academics and activists who reside outside of Iran and attempt to create dialogue with colleagues inside the country.
On Monday, a spokesperson for Iran's judiciary confirmed that Dr. Esfandiari was detained on charges of violating national security and is being held by the Intelligence Ministry.
"The investigation is totally unfounded," Michael Van Dusen, deputy director of the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars, a nonpartisan research institute, told IPS. "We've given Iran all the information on what the Middle East Programme did and where it got its money. We have been very open. We have nothing to hide." (read the rest of the story here.)