Iran Charges American Scholar

Imprisoned academic accused of working against government
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2007 11:20 AM CDT
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.   (Getty Images (by Event))
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(Newser) – The Iranian government has charged an Iranian-American scholar already in custody in Tehran with working for "the soft-toppling of the country." Haleh Esfandiari, 67, was arrested May 8 after being under house arrest since January. The accusations come just days before American and Iranian diplomats are to meet in Baghdad for talks about the Iraq war.

Esfandiari, who runs the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, was visiting her 93-year-old mother when she was detained. Iranian state television, a government mouthpiece, says she confessed under interrogation to using her job to bring Iranians to the US in an effort "to lure influential elements and link them to decision-making centers in America."