French hopeful Iran will allow academic to leave

Officials in Paris were guardedly optimistic Friday that Iran will allow a French academic who has been blocked in the country for more than two months to leave soon. Stephane Dudoignon was arrested in southeastern Iran on Jan. 30 and has since been prevented from leaving the Iranian capital, Teheran. A French Foreign Ministry official said Iran's ambassador to Paris had "quite encouraging comments" about the possibility that Dudoignon would be allowed to leave Iran shortly. Dudoignon, a historian with France's prestigious CNRS Institute, has said he was detained over his research into Iran's Sunni minority.