Iran on Monday released an Iranian-Canadian academic imprisoned since June, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said, a rare reprieve for one of the numerous dual-nationals it has arrested since last year.
Homa Hoodfar, an anthropology professor at Montreal’s Concordia University specializing in Muslim women and the Middle East, was released on humanitarian grounds including poor physical health, spokesman Bahram Ghasemi was quoted as saying by the official Islamic Republic News Agency.
The 65-year-old’s health had been in decline throughout her detention. Ms. Hoodfar suffers from a chronic autoimmune condition aggravated by stress, according to Amnesty International, which has advocated for her release.
Ms. Hoodfar flew to Canada via Oman, Mr. Ghasemi said. He didn’t elaborate on the case against her or whether political efforts played any role in her release.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed Ms. Hoodfar’s release in a statement and said she would soon be reunited with her family.
The country “has been actively and constructively engaged at the highest levels in Dr. Hoodfar’s case—since her ordeal began—working for her release and return to Canada,” he said.
Canada doesn’t have diplomatic representation in Iran, but its government worked closely with Oman, Italy and Switzerland, who were instrumental in securing her release, Mr. Trudeau said.
Ms. Hoodfar’s friends and colleagues at Concordia said Monday was an “extraordinary” day at the campus for those who worked and lobbied for her release over the last few months.
“I suspect she’s not in good health—but she’s free and she’s out of Iran and will get medical care,” Marguerite Mendell, the university’s head of graduate studies for community and public affairs, said at a press conference. “Today is a day to rejoice and celebrate.”
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SOURCE: Wall Street Journal, Asa Fitch