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Iranian-American scholar leaves Iran with charges pending

[JURIST] Iranian-American scholar Haleh Esfandiari [WWC profile; JURIST news archive], who was released on bail [JURIST report] from Iranian custody in August, obtained a passport from Tehran and left Iran Sunday night for an unknown destination, according to her lawyer. Esfandiari, an American citizen, is the director of the Middle East program at the US-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Her lawyer said last week that the Iranian government still has charges pending against her [JURIST report]. AP has more.

Esfandiari was detained in May [WWC timeline, DOC; WWC materials] and is accused of being involved in an alleged plot "against the sovereignty of the country." Still in custody is Open Society Institute consultant Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh [OSI press release]. Prosecutors said last month that they have completed their investigation [JURIST report] into the two detainees. 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].

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