Kian Tajbakhsh, an American citizen, is being
charged in an Iranian show trial as an American agent who helped orchestrate the
post-election protests. He was arrested in Tehran at 9pm on July 9 in front of
his wife and small daughter and has since been held in an undisclosed location
without access to a lawyer, family or friends.
[New York Times]
Tajbakhsh's arrest was first announced on the Iranian state-sponsored, English-language Press TV on 13 July, alleging that he was "cooperating" with Hossein Rassam, the head of the security and political division of the British Embassy in Tehran, in fomenting the post-election turmoil. Hossein has since been released on bail.
Tajbakhsh's family, friends and hundreds of campaigners working to secure his release vehemently deny the charges being lodged against him by the Ahmadinejad regime. Family and friends have previously warned in a public statement that they fear he is being held in an attempt by the Iranian authorities to obtain forced statements from him to use in a televised show trial, adding that "such statements are repeatedly extracted under conditions of torture for the sole purpose of staging televised show trials": [Associated Press]. They are distressed by photos of Tajbakhsh published by the Iranian official news agency Fars on August 1st, which indicate that he is under intense strain.
Dr. Tajbakhsh is a Columbia University PhD and New School-affiliated social scientist and urban planner whom family and friends say has always sought political neutrality in an effort to bridge cultural divides. The Iranian state television report on Tajbakhsh's arrest also notes that "Iran blames foreign powers, the US and Britain in particular, for what it calls interference in its internal affairs and post-vote disturbances.
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