An Iranian-American scholar from a Washington-based think tank was arrested yesterday in Iran after months of house arrest, the State Department confirmed today. Haleh Esfandiari, an Iranian-American with dual citizenship, had her passport taken from her in December and has now been taken to Ervin Prison, according to a statement by her employer. She was allowed one phone call and used it to contact her 93-year-old mother but has not been heard from since. Esfandiari is the director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, a think tank based in Washington, D.C. The Wilson Center indicated that Esfandiari was in need of medical attention but did not specify whether that was a result of her incarceration. She is one of three American citizens to have had their passports taken from them while traveling in the Islamic republic in recent months, the State Department said today. Another is Parnaz Azima, a Prague-based journalist for U.S.-funded Radio Farda. Officials refused to comment on the third case, saying the individual’s family had not signed a Privacy Act waiver allowing them to comment on the situation. The State Department called for their immediate release. Spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters that the State Department has been in touch with the individuals’ families. "These two women are an academic on the one hand, a journalist on the other. They are both grandmothers and so I am not sure what it is the Iranian government has to fear from these ladies," he said. McCormack refused to say whether the U.S. has requested consular access from the Iranian government, a standard right afforded to individuals arrested in a foreign land. McCormack would not say whether the actions by the Iranian government were a coordinated effort to target Americans, saying that the U.S. is handling the cases individually. According to the Wilson Center, Esfandiari was on her way to the airport to fly back to Washington on December 30 last year when she had her passport and bags stolen at knife-point by three masked men. While applying for replacement Iranian travel documents days later, she was invited to speak with an official who turned out to be a representative of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence, the Wilson Center said. This began a weeks-long process of intimidating interviews in which Esfandiari was reportedly coerced into making false confessions and falsely implicating the Wilson Center’s actions in Iran. A letter by Wilson Center president Lee Hamilton addressed to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has received no response, the Wilson Center said in a statement. McCormack told reporters that there have been previous cases in which Americans traveling in Iran have had their passports taken. Officials say these cases are separate from a previously reported incident involving former FBI agent Robert Levinson who has been reported missing in Iran for the past several weeks.