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Iran Frees Jailed Canadian Professor Homa Hoodfar On "Humanitarian" Grounds

The 65-year-old anthropologist was in jail for more than 100 days.

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Iran says it has freed Canadian-Iranian academic Homa Hoodfar after months of detention in Tehran's notorious Evin prison.

Family photo / The Canadian Press

The semi-official Fars news agency on Monday reported that Hoodfar, 65, had been freed on "humanitarian" grounds, including illness.

Bahram Qassemi, a spokesperson for Iran's foreign ministry, said Hoodfar was returned to Canada through Oman.

The retired anthropologist, who taught at Montreal's Concordia University, specializes in Middle Eastern women’s studies. She was in Iran conducting research on women's participation in politics when she was arrested on June 6.

The exact charges against Hoodfar were not revealed, but the accusations against her included collaborating with a hostile foreign government, propaganda against the Iranian state, and "dabbling in feminism," according to Hoodfar's family.

Hoodfar's family confirmed her release on Monday, sharing this photo that shows her being met by her niece Amanda Ghahremani on an airport tarmac.

Hoodfar's family did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed the academic's release in a statement.

"Canadians are relieved that Dr. Hoodfar has been released from jail and will soon be reunited with her friends, family, and colleagues," Trudeau said.

According to the prime minister, Canada — which closed its embassy and cut off diplomatic relations with Iran in 2012 — worked to secure Hoodfar's release with assistance from Oman, Italy, and Switzerland.

Ishmael Daro is a social news editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Toronto.

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at

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