WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin released the following statement regarding Iran’s release of Dr. Haleh Esfrandiari:
“I am extremely pleased that the Iranian government has bowed to international pressure and released American scholar Haleh Esfrandiari. Dr. Esfrandiari was detained while visiting her sick 93-year-old mother in Iran. Her eight-month ordeal is now over and I look forward to her safe return to her family home in Maryland.”
Dr. Esfrandiari, Director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center, had been detained in Iran since December 2006. On May 8, she was imprisoned in Evin Prison, and on May 21 she was charged with trying to topple the regime. The Iranian government released her from prison on Aug. 21, and she was allowed to leave the country today. She is now in Austria.
In May, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution introduced by Senators Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski calling on the Iranian government to drop all charges against Dr. Esfandiari. Dr. Esfandiari, a resident of Potomac, MD, has dual Iranian and U.S. citizenship.