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US Grad Student Held in Iranian Prison

By Tom White

Esha Momeni, an Iranian-American citizen, was arrested October 15 by Iranian officials for an alleged traffic violation while driving on a Tehran highway. Momeni, a graduate student at California State University Northridge, had been in Iran since July, staying with her family and conducting video research for her master's thesis project on the women's rights movement in Iran, and had interviewed members of the organization Change for Equality. She is being held in Tehran's Erin Prison, in a section designated for dissidents and political prisoners. Iranian authorities confiscated her documentary footage and her computer, and two weeks into her detainment, have not lodged formal charges. For more information, here's an article in the Los Angeles Times, as well as a blog that has been set up for Momeni.