Friday, May 11, 2007

Iranian-American "Soft Hostages"

UPDATE: Check out the new blog covering the Mid East: Outsider On The Inside

A little more insight into three Iranian-American women currently detained in Iran, with the U.S State Department confirming the story and calling for them to be allowed to return to their families:
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack confirmed the Iranian action against Esfandiari and said that Iran had also confiscated the passport of two other Iranian-American women to prevent them from leaving the country, including a correspondent for the US government-funded Radio Farda, Parnaz Azima.

The third woman was not identified.

McCormack said that the three women were among several US nationals who "have been harassed or are being harassed by the Iranian government, I can't tell you why."

He added that the US government was in close contact with the families of the three women, but would only publicly comment on the cases of Esfandiari and Azima because their families had already spoken to the press.

"We want to see them return back to their families," McCormack said. "These two women - you have an academic on one hand, you have a journalist on another - both are grandmothers, so I am not sure what it is that the Iranian government has to fear from those individuals," he said.

"These are people who are no threat to the Iranian people and the Iranian government," he said, asserting that they had traveled multiple times between the two countries without incident in the past.

"If the regime is willing to harass these innocent people, it's just an insight into the kind of government with which we are dealing," he said.
Also, a former FBI agent who disappeared while vacationing in Iran in March remains missing.

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