Thursday, May 24, 2007

Another US-Iran Citizen is Detained in Iran

Via Gulf Times (Qatar) -

WASHINGTON: Iran has imprisoned an Iranian American affiliated with George Soros’ Open Society Institute, the foundation said yesterday, becoming the fourth dual citizen to be detained in Iran in recent months.

Diplomats fear that the detentions, which follow the US military’s arrest of five Iranians in Iraq in January, could herald further deterioration in relations between the two countries, which have not had diplomatic ties since 1980.

The New York-based Open Society Institute, a foundation that promotes democratic governance and human rights, said Tehran-based social scientist and urban planner Kian Tajbakhsh had been imprisoned in Iran around May 11.

“He is in prison,” said Laura Silber, a spokeswoman for the foundation. News of his detention was first reported by the Washington Post.

The other dual citizens arrested, detained or otherwise kept from leaving Iran include Haleh Esfandiari, a scholar at the US Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars think tank; Parnaz Azima, a reporter for US-funded Radio Farda; and a third person whom the US government has not identified.

The State Department had no immediate comment on Tajbakhsh. It said Iran had not yet allowed Swiss diplomats, who protect US interests in Iran, to visit Esfandiari in Tehran’s Evin prison.

US officials also believe Tehran may be holding former FBI official Robert Levinson, who went missing early in March while on a visit to the Iranian island of Kish. Iran has denied it is holding him.

Iran’s intelligence ministry has accused the Soros group of promoting “soft revolution” in Iran - a term Iranian officials use to refer to a perceived US plot to use intellectuals and others inside Iran to undermine the Islamic state.


  1. Robert Levinson has been missing in Iran for nearly 3 months and his family still does not have any information on his whereabouts. We are extremely concerned. Anyone with information is asked to contact Please help bring Bob home in time to celebrate Father's Day with us.

  2. More on the Robert Levinson story can be found here...