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Zehra Kazemi

Canada is mishandling efforts to get more information about the death of Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi in Tehran, an Iranian official says.

"Unfortunately, Canada has been following a wrong approach from the very beginning, and caused things to get more complicated," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters on Sunday.

Kazemi died while in the custody of Iranian officials in 2003. Canada and some Iranians say she was tortured and murdered by Iranian security forces, but Iranian government officials say she died accidentally.

The federal government demanded an international examination of her death last week. "The ball is now in Iran's court. Only a transparent and credible process can answer the disturbing questions that remain about Zahra Kazemi's death and the subsequent investigation," Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew said.

Asefi said Kazemi is an Iranian citizen, and Canada should have acknowledged that Iran does not recognize dual citizenships.

He also said it's up to the Iranian judiciary to respond to Canada. The judiciary is expected to hold a news conference on Tuesday.

The controversy over Kazami's death moved up on Canada's agenda after an Iranian doctor who fled the country said he had seen her in hospital. Dr. Shahram Azam said Kazemi was tortured and raped.

After the doctor's disclosure, which Iran has denied, the Opposition pressured the government to act.

Relatives seek new investigation

Lawyers working for Kazemi's mother, who lives in Iran, on Sunday called for a new investigation into the death.

The lawyers for Ezzat Ebrahimi have petitioned the judiciary to appoint a special investigator to reopen the file.

Iran tried and acquitted an intelligence agent in her death in 2004.

Shirin Ebadi, a Nobel laureate and lawyer for the Kazemi family, said at the time that there was no strong evidence against the agent.

She said the court refused to allow her to present witnesses who could prove that a prison official was responsible for Kazemi's death.