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Iranian-American journalist cleared to leave Iran though charges still pending

[JURIST] Iranian-American journalist Parnaz Azima has been granted permission to leave Iran [RFE/RL report] after months of being held in the country due to security-related charges against her, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) [media website] said Tuesday. Azima, employed by a Persian service of RFE/RL, originally traveled to Iran in January to visit her sick mother, and upon arrival Iranian authorities confiscated her passport. Azima told RFE/RL on Wednesday that she will leave Iran as soon as possible, but that the charges against her remain open [RFE/RL report].

Azima's passport was returned to her one day after Iranian-American scholar Haleh Esfandiari [WWC profile; JURIST news archive] left Iran following months of detention [WWC timeline, DOC; WWC materials] in the country for her involvement in an alleged plot "against the sovereignty of the country." Still in custody is Open Society Institute consultant Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh [OSI press release]. Earlier this summer, Iranian 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi accused the Iranian government of interfering in judicial affairs to prevent Esfandiari's release [JURIST report] and of denying lawyers access to Esfandiari [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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