Iran prevents renowned poet from attending Women’s Day in France

Iran barred renowned poet Simin Behbahani from leaving the country to attend an event marking International Women’s Day in Paris, an opposition website reported.

The website Kalame, which belongs to Green Movement leader Mir- Hossein Moussavi, said she was held for several hours by two intelligence officers at IKA airport in Tehran after she had gone through passport control.

“The authorities asked me a series of questions and then seized my passport and finally gave me a letter referring me to the revolutionary court to get my passport back,” said Behbahani.

“I had prepared a text on feminism and a poem as an homage to women for the event,” added the 82-year-old Behbahani, who was invited by the Paris municipality to Monday’s event.

Behbahani is well known for her poems as well as her struggle for women’s rights in Iran.

Her signature can be found at the bottom of almost all open letters requesting freedom for those detained after the waves of protest which followed the June 2009 presidential election. The opposition claims the elections were rigged.

Barring activists from leaving the country has reportedly occurred more frequently in the past nine months.

A similar incident happened last week when police prevented the son of leading opposition cleric Mehdi Karroubi from leaving the country.

Mohammad-Taghi Karroubi, a university lecturer, was leaving Iran for London on Friday reportedly for academic purposes when the police at IKA airport in Tehran seized his passport without explanation.


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