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Iran charges detained Iranian-American scholar

[JURIST] Prominent Iranian-American scholar Dr. Haleh Esfandiari [WWC profile] was formally charged with plotting to overthrow the Iranian government by organizing a network "against the sovereignty of the country," according to Iranian television Monday. Esfandiari, director of the Middle East Program at the DC-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars [think tank website], was formally arrested on May 7 and has been detained at the notorious Evin Prison [BBC backgrounder] for two weeks. Last week, Iranian state newspaper the Kayhan accused Esfandiari [JURIST report] of acting in concert with the United States and Israel to overthrow the Iranian government.

Iran confirmed Esfandiari's arrest [JURIST report] last Sunday following months of alleged interrogation after she was prevented from leaving the country. According to a statement [text] issued by the Center, Esfandiari has been unable to leave Iran since December 30, 2006, when masked men stopped Esfandiari's taxi on her way to the airport and took her baggage and travel documents. Several members of Congress, including Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, have called for her release [WP report]. AP has more.

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