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An Iranian cancer researcher who was detained at Boston Logan International Airport while traveling to the U.S. for work has returned to Iran with his wife and three children.

The researcher, Mohsen Dehnavi, held a visiting work visa to conduct cancer research at Boston Children’s Hospital. But Dehnavi, his wife, and three children were detained at the airport on Monday and departed for Iran on a Tuesday night flight, a spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.

CBP told STAT that the decision to deny the family entry into the U.S. was unrelated to President Trump’s executive order restricting travel from six Muslim-majority countries, including Iran. Dehnavi’s detainment happened just two weeks after the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration could largely enforce the order. The court also ruled that the ban couldn’t apply to visitors who already held valid visas.


When Trump’s initial travel ban was put in place in January, some foreign researchers from the affected countries were prevented from traveling to work in the U.S. Samira Asgari, an Iranian postdoctoral fellow who was slated to join a lab in Boston, wasn’t allowed to board her flight in January. Another Iranian scientist, Seyed Soheil Saeedi Saravi, had his visa suspended just days before his was set to travel to the U.S. for a research fellowship at Harvard.

Children’s Hospital did not immediately respond to request for comment.


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