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US-held Iranian scientist’s brother details paralyzing limbo

US-led Iranian scientist Massoud Soleimani

The brother of Massoud Soleimani, a prominent Iranian scientist behind bars in the US, details how he and his family have been suffering as a result of poor contact with the prisoner and no clear prospect of his release.

Speaking to IRNA on Sunday, the brother said the 49-year-old has not spoken of being tortured in incarceration, deflecting the matter during the conversation he has been able to have with him.

“He would not speak comfortably, and immediately change the subject every time,” he said, adding that his brother would not broach the matter because conversations were being recorded at the facility.

‘One of US’s worst prisons’

“This prison is not safe,” he, meanwhile, added, calling the detention center among the worst in the United States.

Soleimani was “definitely” being held hostage by the US administration, the brother said. “How can a researcher and a physician, who does not have any criminal record and boasts numerous articles published in international circles, be placed in detention?” he asked.

Mother in coma

Soleimani’s brother regretted that their mother had suffered apoplexy following his detention and slipped into a coma.

The 49-year-old Iranian scientist left Iran on sabbatical last year, but was arrested upon arrival in Chicago and transferred to prison in Atlanta, Georgia for unspecified reasons.

His brother explained how American authorities would withhold information on him for several consecutive months, and that they could only learn about his situation after enlisting legal representation.

The only accusation he has been faced with is that two of his students had tried to leave the US with five vials of growth hormone -- readily available on the market and not subject to sanctions -- three years ago, Soleimani’s brother specified. The duo were released without facing any legal proceedings due to being American citizens.

“Then, [American law enforcement officers] lie in waiting to arrest my brother either in the US or somewhere else in the world,” the brother said.

So far, the family has uselessly spent $100,000 to enable Solemani’s release, he said, adding that his last hearing was held last Tuesday without any clear outcome.

This is not the first time US authorities’ detain Iranians or Iranian dual nationals without producing any tangible explanation.


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