US-funded radio demands Iran release journalist

The US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on Tuesday condemned a decision by the Iranian authorities to prevent one of its journalists from leaving the country and called for her immediate release. Parnaz Azima arrived in Teheran on January 25 to visit her sick mother, the broadcaster said. Azima is based in Prague, where she works for Radio Farda - RFE/RL's Persian service operated jointly with the Voice of America radio broadcaster. Authorities seized her Iranian passport and despite Azima's repeated efforts have failed to return it to her, the broadcaster said. It was not clear what the reason was. No one was available for comment at the Iranian Embassy in Prague late Tuesday. On April 15, Iran said it was investigating the claims.