Iran Frees Iranian-Canadian Academic on Humanitarian Grounds

Iran says it has released an Iranian-Canadian academic, who had been imprisoned in Tehran since June for seeking to undermine security in the Islamic Republic, on humanitarian grounds.

“Homa Hoodfar, the retired professor of Canadian universities, who had been detained in Iran on certain charges, was released this afternoon on humanitarian reasons such as [her] illness,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Monday.

He added that the scholar had left Tehran for Canada through Oman.

Hoodfar, a retired sociology and anthropology professor from Montreal’s Concordia University, was detained in Iran in June on several charges, including “collaboration with a hostile government.”

The report of her release came after Qassemi announced that Tehran and Ottawa have been holding bilateral meetings in recent months to improve the severed relations.

In his weekly briefing session on Monday, Qassemi told reporters in Tehran that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Canadian counterpart Stéphane Dion met in New York on September 21 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

The sides discussed mutual relations, regional issues, and consular affairs. The meeting came as the two countries had severed bilateral relations more than four years ago.

“The expert-level talks will be continued in future, and if we manage to overcome political and legal issues, a major change can be made in Tehran-Ottawa bilateral ties,” he said, as reported by Tasnim and translated by IFP.

“Given the presence of hundreds of thousands of elite Iranians in Canada, our consular presence in the North American country is of great importance. I think, given the regional position of Iran, the issue is important for Canada as well. However, we should wait and see what it will lead to,” Qassemi said.

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