Iran charges academic of seeking to topple clerics

Iran on Monday charged detained Iranian-American academic Haleh Esfandiari with allegedly seeking to topple the ruling Islamic establishment, state-run television reported. Esfandiari, director of the Middle East Program at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, has been held at Tehran's notorious Evin Prison since early May. State TV, quoting an Iranian Intelligence Ministry statement, said she and the Wilson Center were conspiring together to topple the government by setting up a network "against the sovereignty of the country. This is an American designed model with an attractive appearance that seeks the soft-toppling of the country." Esfandiari's husband, Shaul Bakhash, has denied allegations that his wife was a spy and was trying to topple the government. A spokeswoman for the Center called the claims untrue.