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Woman can go, Iran says; father disputes it

November 19, 2008|Ramin Mostaghim | Mostaghim is a special correspondent.
  • Esha Momeni, 28, was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Iran. She returned to the U.S. for a master?s degree.
Esha Momeni, 28, was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Iran. She returned… (Cal State Northridge )

TEHRAN — A judiciary official said Tuesday that there was no obstacle barring a Cal State Northridge graduate student from leaving Iran, even as her father said authorities had seized her American passport.

Ali Reza Jamshidi, spokesman for Iran's judiciary, said Iranian American student Esha Momeni was free to leave Iran until "the trial time in the future." But her father, Reza Momeni, told The Times that her travel documents were being held by authorities.

"Esha's passports have been seized so she cannot go out," he said. "Meanwhile, it has not been determined when the trial will be held."

Momeni's lawyer said he was told by an investigator at the political and security court where the California-born student was being held that he should return Monday to talk about his client's case.

Momeni, 28, who grew up mostly in Iran but has been living in California for the last three years, traveled to the Islamic Republic this year to research her master's thesis on women's rights activists. She was arrested last month in Tehran and held for three weeks in a political ward of the country's most infamous prison, Evin.

She is now out on bail facing potentially serious charges of undermining national security and spreading propaganda against the republic.

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