Iran says following up case of journalist missing in Syria

TEHRAN Tue May 17, 2011 10:54am EDT

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TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran said Tuesday it was following up the case of a journalist for Al Jazeera who holds a joint U.S., Canadian and Iranian nationality and who went missing after arriving in Syria on April 29.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told a news conference in Tehran that Dorothy Parvaz had violated the law.

"She had violated the law in several cases...she wanted to travel to Syria with an expired Iranian passport (as a tourist but) aimed at working as a journalist without asking for relevant permits," he said.

"We are also following up her case because it is important for us as well," he added, without giving details on Parvaz's whereabouts.

Authorities have barred most international media from operating in Syria, where authorities are tackling a two-month wave of protests against President Bashar al-Assad.

Al Jazeera had earlier this month said it had learned that Parvaz, 39, went missing after she arrived at Damascus airport on April 29 to cover the anti-government protests.

It said Parvaz has been deported from Syria to Iran.

Syrian officials had previously said the journalist was being held in the Syrian capital and would be released, Al Jazeera said on its website on May 11.

Iran and Syria have a close relationship and both support Lebanon's Hezbollah and the Palestinian movement Hamas, whose exiled leaders live in Syria.

(Writing by Ramin Mostafavi)

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