Widow of Wildlife Expert Not Allowed to Leave Iran

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

Maryam Mombeini, age 55, was stopped by Iranian airport security and told that she could not leave the country with her two sons, Ashifa Kassam reported for the Guardian in March, 2018.  Maryam’s entire family holds dual citizenship in Canada and Iran.  Her husband, Kavous Seyed-Emami, who founded the Persian Heritage Wildlife Foundation, was arrested in January under the suspicion that he and several of his coworkers were spies for the CIA and Mossad, the national intelligence agency of Israel.  Iranian government officials assert that Kavous, age 63, committed suicide in prison two weeks after his arrest.  The day after Iran refused to allow Maryam Mobeini to leave the country, the Canadian government called on Iran to allow her to do so.

In Iran, the family was under constant threat, and pressured to keep quiet about the imprisonment and death of Kavous Seyed-Emami.  One of Maryam’s sons, Ramin Seyed-Emami, said, “My brother and I are followed and under surveillance everywhere we go,” and in a letter to journalists he wrote, “The authorities told our lawyers to tell the brothers ‘to shut up or we’ll shut them up’.”  As the Guardian reported, the family and others who are skeptical of the official account have called for an independent investigation into Seyed-Emami’s death.

As of Friday March 19 2018, corporate media have provided little coverage of this incident, let alone the imprisonment and death of Kavous Seyed-Emami.  Following the Guardian’s initial report, on March 9, 2018, corporate outlets, including the New York Times, CBC, and ABC, have provided some subsequent coverage.

Source: Ashifa Kassam, “Widow of Jailed Wildlife Expert Prevented from Leaving Iran,” The Guardian, March 8, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/08/widow-of-jailed-wildlife-expert-prevented-from-leaving-iran.

Student Researcher: Tim Stanton (College of Western Idaho)

Faculty Evaluator: Michelle Mahoney (College of Western Idaho)