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Russia Summons Iranian Envoy Over Journalist's Detention In Tehran


Yulia Yuzik used to work in Iran as a correspondent for a Russian media outlet.

MOSCOW -- Russia's Foreign Ministry says it has summoned the Iranian ambassador to Moscow over the detention of a Russian journalist in Tehran.

Ambassador Mehdi Sanai has been “invited to the Foreign Ministry to quickly clarify the circumstances of the incident” and ensure the rights of journalist Yulia Yuzik are observed, ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on her Facebook page on October 4.

The ministry later said in a statement that Sanai told Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov that Yuzik would be freed "shortly," after police question her.

RIA Novosti quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Musavi as saying Yuzik had been detained "to give a number of explanations" and that she will be released soon. He did not provide further details.

Earlier, Yuzik's daughter wrote on her mother's Facebook account that the journalist "has huge problems" and a court hearing on October 5 "will decide on her fate."

Meanwhile, Yuzik's ex-husband, journalist Boris Voitsekhovsky, said members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) had broken into her hotel room on October 3 and detained her on suspicion of having ties to Israeli intelligence services. This information has not been officially confirmed.

Voitsekhovsky said that her passport had been retained by Iranian border control immediately after landing in Tehran a few days earlier for unknown reasons.

According to Voitsekhovsky, Yuzik faces 10 years in prison if convicted.

Yuzik, who was born in Russia's Rostov region in 1981, used to work in Iran as a correspondent for a Russian media outlet.

She gained prominence in 2003 with her book, Allah's Brides, about female suicide-bombers in the mostly Muslim-populated Russian region of the North Caucasus.

She also authored Beslan Dictionary, a book based on testimony from survivors of the September 1, 2004 Beslan school massacre in North Ossetia that claimed 334 lives, 186 of whom were children.

Iran is holding a number of foreign citizens and dual nationals on espionage charges.

Russia has friendly relations with Iran, and it is unusual for Tehran to target Russian citizens.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, RIA Novosti, and AP