middle east

Canadian Homa Hoodfar released from Iranian prison
Hoodfar until recently taught anthropology and sociology at Montreal’s Concordia University, where colleagues told a news conference they were overjoyed with her release.
By Rebecca Joseph

Canadian professor Homa Hoodfar was released Monday from an Iranian prison where she was held for over 100 days.

The Iranian foreign minister said she was released for “humanitarian reasons.”

“Homa Hoodfar, the retired professor of Canadian universities, who had been detained in Iran based on some accusations was released this afternoon for humanitarian reasons including illness, and left Iran to Canada, through Oman,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed the news in a statement Monday morning.

“Canadians are relieved that Dr. Hoodfar has been released from jail and will soon be reunited with her family, friends and colleagues,” the statement reads.

He also says that Italy, Switzerland and Oman have been helping Canada since our country doesn’t have diplomatic representation in Iran.

Hoodfar, 65, was being held for “dabbling in feminism” since June 6. She was born in Iran but has lived in Montreal for 30 years. She holds Canadian, Irish and Iranian citizenship.

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Hand crafted pieces from an artisan store.

The top picture is of the King Cyrus, a Persian king. King Cyrus, also known as Cyrus the Great, is one of the most famous Persian kings, in that he founded the Achaemenid Period and inscribed the first declaration of human rights.

The bottom picture is an Arabic phrase from the Quran. It says “Bismillah al Rahman al Rahim” which translates to “In the name of God, the most gracious and most merciful”.

Tehran, Iran

Private meeting at UN between Trudeau team and Omani officials led to Hoodfar's release by Iran
Trudeau's pattern of directly investing himself in consular cases appears to bear fruit for 2nd time

A quiet meeting just off the main floor of the United Nations General Assembly may have been the turning point in Canada’s attempts to secure the release of Iranian-Canadian Homa Hoodfar from a prison in Iran.

It happened in the corner of a large meeting room just after U.S. President Barack Obama finished his final speech to the UN. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his top political staff and foreign policy advisers held a private “pull aside” meeting with the foreign minister of Oman and a small delegation of Omani officials.

The prime minister had reached out to Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah 11 days earlier on Sept. 9 by phone to ask for Oman’s help in securing Hoodfar’s release from Iran. But this was their first face-to-face meeting, and it appears to have played a critical role in securing the Concordia professor’s release.

Trudeau and bin Abdullah sat next to each other on a cream-coloured couch resting on the worn green carpet covering the floor of the General Assembly. Canada’s Ambassador to the UN Marc-Andre Blanchard and John Hannaford, the assistant secretary to cabinet for foreign and defence policy, sat close by.

The meeting lasted about 20 minutes. But a high-level source said that is when “the whole thing started to move.”

“After months and months and months of nothing, then it happened,” said the source. “He [bin Abdullah] wanted to help and he did.”

On Friday — just days after that UN meeting — Canada started to receive “cryptic signals” from Oman that Canada would see a “favourable resolution” to its issue within 72 hours. On Monday, Hoodfar was released.

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Singing in the Shah Mosque in Isfahan, Iran

The acoustics  in the 400 year old mosque are amazing & notes hang in the air with crystal clarity. The singer is a student from northern Iran visiting Isfahan & had always wanted to sing in the mosque because of its unique acoustic resonance qualities. You have to stand on the tiled square for perfect effect.