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Family of Iranian scientist jailed in US hold presser in Tehran

Iranian stem cell scientist Dr. Masoud Soleimani

Yusef Jalali 
Press TV, Tehran

Inhumane and hostile; this is how the worried family of renowned Iranian stem cell scientist Masoud Soleimani describe the US’s detention of the top Iranian scientist.

This presser is held on the occasion of the first anniversary of the imprisonment of Professor Soleimani, who was arrested by the FBI upon arrival at the Chicago airport in October last year.

The stem cell researcher had traveled to the US at the invitation of Mayo Clinic, one of the prestigious medical centers in Minnesota to lead a research project on the treatment of stroke patients. But, from a stem cell project, the Iranian doctor ended up in a prison cell in Atlanta, Georgia.

Soleimani is accused of bypassing the United States’ anti-Iran sanctions by purchasing vials containing a human growth factor.

The family of Dr. Soleimani condemns the US’s accusations of the Iranian scientist as baseless. They believe the move is politically motivated and is an excuse aimed at mounting pressure against Tehran.

His colleagues say human growth materials are readily available in the market and are not subject to Washington's anti-Iran embargos. 

On the other hand, for his trip to the US, he was granted a valid J-1 visa for a six-month sabbatical leave, as says his wife who has not seen him since then.

Soleimani is among the top 1% of the most highly cited scientists in stem cell research and regenerative medicine. His arrest is viewed by observers as a blatant violation of free access to science.

The head of IRIB World Service says by hosting this press conference, he aims to raise awareness of the situation of Dr. Soleimani to preserve his rights.

The 49-year-old professor and biomedical researcher is suffering from several health issues which have been aggravated during his incarceration. He is denied any visits from his family.

His wife says his mother has died of severe stress over his arrest. But they have concealed this to prevent the mental effects of the incident. 

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