Esfandyari Free to Travel Abroad

A02515488.jpg Attorney of Haleh Esfandyari, an Iranian national who is a resident of the US and was arrested by Tehran officials on charges of harming national security, said Esfandyari can now travel abroad after she was let out on bail on Tuesday. Mohammad Seyf-zadeh told FNA that barring individuals from leaving the country requires a different verdict.

“With this bail, Esfandyari can travel abroad, but she must come back to Iran if the court or investigators summon her,” he continued.

Iranian judiciary authorities on Tuesday released Esfandyari on a bail at the equivalent of $333,000.

An informed source told FNA on Tuesday that the court is now through with investigations, “and thus she won’t be detained any more and will be released on bail.”

Esfandiari’s husband, Shaul Bakhash, said he spoke to his wife late Tuesday morning, adding that his wife sounded hopeful and healthy.

“She sounded hopeful that this was just the first step and that she would travel and join her family soon,” he said in a phone conversation. “She sounded obviously elated to be out of Evin (prison). She sounded quite well, I thought.”

But Esfandiari continues to face charges and may have to appear in court or be returned to prison. Judge Hassan Haddad, a prosecutor in a special national security court, told the Mehr news agency that the inquiry of Esfandiari and another detained Iranian American scholar continued. He said indictments could follow the investigations.

Esfandiari heads the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a Washington think tank. She was barred from leaving the country and subjected to interrogation as she was leaving Iran after what was meant to be a brief trip to her native country over the Christmas holidays.

Three days later, authorities arrested Kian Tajbakhsh, an Iranian American sociologist working for philanthropist George Soros’ Open Society Institute. Both were charged with undermining Iran’s national security.

Esfandiari and Tajbakhsh appeared on Iranian television last month in a two-part documentary called “In the Name of Democracy,” which showed them confessing to taking part in a US-backed plot to spark a peaceful revolution against Iran’s leaders.

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