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Iran: 'Her Passport Was Confiscated, Questions Asked'

Parnaz Azima has been unable to leave Iran since January (RFE/RL) May 3, 2007 (RFE/RL) --  Amir Mosaddegh Katouzian is acting director of Radio Farda, the Persian-language service run jointly by RFE/RL and Voice of America. He discusses the plight of Radio Farda correspondent Parnaz Azima, who has been unable to leave Iran since her passport was confiscated in January.

"She [Parnaz Azima] was told by her brother that her mother was probably not going to live and if she wants to see her [mother] for the last time she had better come back.

"When Azima was in Tehran airport at the point of arrival, her passport was confiscated by the authorities. Questions were asked such as, 'You have a CD, where is it?' And she didn't know what the authorities were really asking or seeking.

"So she said she doesn't listen to music, and they said, 'You know what kind of CD we're talking about; condensed information that is in your suitcase.'

Passport To Be Returned 'When The Time Comes'

"So she asked them to search and see for themselves that there's nothing in there. So they took the content of the suitcase in addition to two raw translations.

"At another point in time she had to go and ask why this had been done and when the passport was going to be given back. At which point they said the passport will not be given back now and they will call her whenever the time comes.

Azima Asked To Cooperate

"I don't know the specifics and the conversation had been very brief. The point was that Azima said she doesn't know what cooperation they're talking about and she's a professional, she's only going to work as a professional journalist, and if they mean any type of institutional ties between, for instance, the authorities in Iran and her work, she doesn't accept [that] and she rejects it outright.

"RFE/RL has asked the Iranian authorities to release the passport of Parnaz Azima so she can travel and report back to work as soon as possible. Jeff Gedmin, the president of RFE/RL, has indicated there's no reason for this passport to be in the possession of the authorities of the Islamic republic."

Radio Farda's Persian-Language Website

Radio Farda's Persian-Language Website

UPDATED CONSTANTLY: Visit RFE/RL's Persian-language website, featuring news, analysis, features, streaming audio, and more, in Persian, from Radio Farda.


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