updated 9/18/2007 1:51:42 PM ET 2007-09-18T17:51:42

An Iranian-American reporter who was trapped in Iran for months on suspicion of trying to stir up a revolution was allowed to leave the country Tuesday and return to the United States, her employer said.

Parnaz Azima was one of four Iranian-Americans charged with endangering national security, an accusation they denied. Another of the four was released earlier.

Azima "left Iran today and is on her way to the United States," Sania Winter, a spokeswoman for Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty, told The Associated Press from Washington. She would not give further details.

Unlike the other three Americans, Azima — who works for RFE-RL's Farsi-language service Radio Farda — was not imprisoned but authorities confiscated her passport when she arrived in the country in January on a family visit.

Azima's lawyer in Tehran, Mohammad Hossein Aghassi, said she was allowed to leave Iran on a bail of around $450,000. She had planned to leave Saturday but was held up until Tuesday by final legal procedures, he said.

The station said Tuesday that the charges against Azima have not been dropped and that the deed to her mother's house in Tehran, offered as bail, has not been returned. Her passport was returned to her Sept. 4.

The charges have heightened tensions between the United States and Iran, already high over U.S. accusations that Iran was seeking to develop a nuclear weapons and is fueling violence in Iraq. Iran denies both claims.

But Iranian authorities appear to be aiming to defuse the crisis. Haleh Esfandiari, director of the Middle East Program for the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, was released on Aug. 21 from Tehran's Evin prison, where she had been held for months. Esfandiari left the country earlier this month.

Last week, journalists were allowed to see another of the Americans, Kian Tajbakhsh, during a visit to Evin prison. Tajbakhsh said he expected to be freed soon, and an Iranian judiciary spokesman said his release was likely.

Also still being held at Evin is Ali Shakeri, a member of a California-based democracy group, the Center for Citizen Peacebuilding. Iranian officials have not said anything about his release.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments