WASHINGTON, April 24, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- RFE/RL President Jeffrey Gedmin has condemned news that the Iranian government plans to keep RFE/RL journalist Parnaz Azima from leaving Iran for up to three years.
In a statement issued April 24, Gedmin urged the Iranian authorities to immediately give back Azima's passport so she can return to her professional duties and to her son and grandchildren, who live outside of Iran.
Azima's Iranian passport was seized when she arrived in Tehran in January to visit her hospitalized mother.
Since then, Azima has tried unsuccessfully to reclaim the passport.
On April 23, one of Azima's lawyer Mohammad-Hossein Aghasi was told by a security official that her passport will not be returned any time soon.
The security official said Azima will "remain in Tehran for two or three years."
Azima is a broadcaster with Radio Farda, the Persian-language service run jointly by RFE/RL and Voice of America.