Canadian academic Homa Hoodfar indicted on unknown charges in Iran

To what extent does Iranian foreign policy explain the arrest of this Montreal academic?
Canadian-Iranian scholar Homa Hoodfar, held incommunicado in Tehran's Evin, is now said to be indicted by the Iranian authorities. (Canadian Press)
Listen20:55

Read story transcript

A Canadian-Iranian anthropologist being held in Iran's Evin prison has now been indicted. Homa Hoodfar was arrested by the counter-intelligence unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guards in March and has been detained since.

The charges laid against the 65-year-old academic on Monday are unknown — keeping with the secrecy and confusion that has shrouded her detainment from the onset. 

Now it seems they're really serious, and it's not the mistake we thought it might have been.-Amanda  Ghahremani , on the recent indictment of her aunt Homa   Hoodfar
Concordia University anthropology professor Homa Hoodfar has been arrested in Iran, and is being held in Tehran's infamous Evin prison, her family says. 2:34

With hardliners who maintain authority over judiciary and intelligence services losing political control in Iran, it is suspected Hoodfar is being used as leverage to stop the Rouhani government from embracing more liberal policies.  

The goal is to send a message to Iranian civil society activists [ . . . ] "if we can do this to dual citizens, we can easily to it to you. Scale back your activism." -   Nader   Hashemi , on the arrest of Canadian-Iranian  Homa   Hoodfar

Iran may also intend to exchange Hoodfar for an Iranian banker who currently resides in Canada and is wanted for trial in his home country. 

On The Current, the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver explains the nuances of this political arrest, and the difficulties for going forward with the closure of the Canadian embassy in 2012. 


  •  Amanda Ghahremani, Hoodfar's niece
  •  Nader Hashemi, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver

This segment was produced by The Current's Idella Sturino and Ines Colabrese