Iranian stem cell scientist detained in the United States for seven months

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The Iranian professor, a stem cell specialist, was arrested on arrival at Chicago Airport. – David Pearson / Rex Fea / REX / SIPA

An Iranian stem cell researcher was detained without trial in the United States for almost seven months, several Iranian media reports reported, with the official IRNA agency that accused Washington of holding the scientist hostage.

Massoud Soleimani, professor at the Tarbiat Moddares University in Tehran, left for the United States on 22 October 2018 for a research job, writes Irna, citing his brother Rassoul Soleimani.

Despite the fact that "he was granted a visa, he was arrested on arrival at Chicago airport for an unknown reason before he was sent to prison in Atlanta," the agency said. : "Massoud Soleimani is the hostage of the American government".

Followed for "purchase and order of a chemical"?

According to Irna, the family had no news of the Pr Soleimani "for several months" until he hired a lawyer in the United States.

Quoting the academic brother, Irna adds that Pr Soleimani, 49, appeared for the first time in court on May 14, without this hearing leading to a "final conclusion".

According to the semi-official agency Isna, citing Mohammad Taghi Ahmadi, the rector of the Tarbiat Moddares University, his colleague was tried to "buy and order a chemical in connection with hematology tests".

"Ridiculous and unacceptable"

According to Mohammad Taghi Ahmadi, these accusations are "ridiculous and unacceptable" and Mr. Soleimani's detention is "an operation of harassment", writes Isna.

Irna indicates that the scientist's arrest is linked to that of two of his students, arrested in 2016 by US authorities for trying to send him "some bulbs containing growth hormones in special containers" for the purpose of "scientific research".

According to Press TV, the state-run Iranian television channel, Dr. Soleimani was invited by the Mayo Clinic, a Minnesota university hospital, to conduct a research program.

Against the background of a diplomatic crisis between the United States and Iran

The chain, adds that according to the American lawyers in charge of its defense, the Iranian academic was secretly indicted on 12 June 2018 by the US federal police (FBI), just over a month after the president L & # 39; American Donald Trump has unilaterally denounced the Iran 2015 international nuclear agreement.

This complaint led to the restoration of US economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic from August 2018, but these are not, in theory, medical research.

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