Communications grad student still unable to leave Iran

Danielle Directo

CSUN communications grad student Esha Momeni, who was arrested and jailed in Iran in mid-October of last year, is still unable to leave the Middle Eastern country after a travel ban against her was renewed.

Iranian Judiciary spokesperson Alireza Jamshidi told AFP January 13 that the ban was reissued because a ‘new issue has opened and the examination of this issue will take about one month.’

Momeni, who had been working on her thesis project on Iran’s women’s rights movement, was arrested October 15, 2008 after she was pulled over for allegedly passing another vehicle illegally on a highway.’ Her property was then seized, including video footage for her thesis documentary.

The student was released on bail November 10 after spending 25 days in solitary confinement at Evin prison in Tehran.

Momeni had been interviewing women’s rights advocates with the One Million Signatures campaign, an organization seeking to change Iranian law to recognize women equal to men.

The student is also a volunteer with the organization’s California chapter.

Hassan Hussain, a close friend of Momeni and her family, told the Sundial last November it was ‘frustrating’ that the Iranian government was issuing conflicting information on Momeni’s status and providing ‘intentional misinformation’ on her ability to return to the United States.

At the time, Iranian officials said the student would be allowed fly back to the U.S., but travel restrictions had been placed against Momeni, Hussain said in November.

An event will take place on Friday at USC’s United Universal Church to bring awareness to Momeni’s situation.’ The performance will include Iranian musicians, poets and singers and begins at 8 p.m. at 817 West 34th Street, Los Angeles, 90089.