Dorothy Parvaz is a journalist who currently works for Al Jazeera. Described by her family as a “global citizen” who “is dedicated to [journalism] as a force for peace and justice in the world,” Parvaz was born in Iran, grew up in Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere, formerly worked for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and is a citizen of Iran, the U.S. and Canada. She traveled to Syria to cover the revolt there for Al Jazeera. She apparently was detained by Syrian authorities at the Damascus airport, and has not been seen since.
Syria’s government now says they they have sent Parvaz to Iran:
There was no immediate comment from officials in Iran, but the apparent jailing of Parvaz highlights the increasing pressures and clampdowns against journalists trying to covering the uprisings against the autocratic regime of President Bashar Assad in Syria and others across the region.
Sending Parvaz to Iran–if true–also could reinforce allegations that Iranian authorities are working closely with Assad’s government to crack down on protesters and choke off independent media coverage.
Her family says that Parvaz most likely used her Iranian passport to travel to Syria, which presumably gave Assad’s minions a handy pretext to ship her to Tehran. When Parvaz was first reported missing, Iran responded by demanding information about her whereabouts:
Ali Akbar Salehi, the Iranian foreign minister, said at a news conference in Doha on Monday that Iran wanted the Syrians to look into the matter.
“I hope that it is not true, but if that is the case, then we demand the government of Syria to look into this,” Salehi said in response to a question on what Iran would undertake to secure Parvaz’s release.
Apparently Iran wanted to know whether the Syrians were holding Parvaz so they could get their hands on her. All of this is consistent with claims that Iran is working closely with Syria, behind the scenes, to help crush the popular uprising there.