Saturday, July 11, 2009

Kian Tajbakhsh is American Citizen Arrested in Iran: Iranian American Arrested in Iran

Kian Tajbakhsh is an American citizen arrested in Iran. Dr. Tajbakhsh is an Iranian-American scholar with dual citizenship in the U.S. and Iran. He was arrested in Tehran on July 9, 2009

Kian Tajbakhsh
This arrest in Iran is the second for Tajbakhsh. In May 2007 he arrested and held in the infamous Evin Prison until September 19th, 2007. The charges against Dr. Tajabkhsh in that arrest were "endangering national security," which he denied.

This time, he is the first U.S. citizen to be detained. Iranian authorities have not commented but Mrs. Tajabkhsh said she witnessed the arrest in their home. Reportedly, the house was search and computers and other personal items were removed. In Iran yesterday, protests over the June 12th Iranian elections whipped back to life and protesters filled the streets. Whether Tajabkhsh's arrests pertains to the protests is not known. Kian's family says he was not involved in the protest, but Time is reporting that his arrest was a part of an Iranian security sweep designed to end the protests.

At the time of Tajabkhsh's 2007 arrest, he was a consultant for the Soros Foundation's Open Society Institute, which Iran has accused of trying to disrupt and replace the regime. According to Kian Tajabkhsh, the Dr. ended all association with the Soros organization immediately after his release from prison. Noted as significant in Tajabkhsh's arrest is the fact that he was actually detained by the Revolutionary Guard:
The regime may be trying to implicate the U.S. in the unrest, analysts say. "What's significant is the fact that he was taken by the Revolutionary Guards and that he is, as far as we know, the first U.S. citizen to be detained. I think it's very plausible that Iran's hard-liners are trying to draw the United States into this," Sadjadpour said.
The Iranian human-rights group said Tajbakhsh joins more than 240 other prominent Iranian lawyers, activists, journalists, professors, human-rights defenders and students detained without warrants and taken to undisclosed locations since the unrest began almost a month ago. "These detainees are being held in incommunicado detention and the authorities have refused to provide any information regarding charges against them or their condition to their families," Ghaemi said in a statement.
Dr. Tajabkhsh is a "social scientist," and an "urban planner." He received a BA from Imperial College, London, a M.Sc. from University College, London and a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1993. He was instrumental in the rebuilding projects in Bam, Iran after the 2003 earthquake. He is the author of The Promise of the City: Space, Identity and Politics and Contemporary Social Thought and Social Capital: Trust, Democracy and Development, and taught urban policy at the New School for Social Research in New York City from 1994 to 2001. Prior to 2007 he served as an adviser to the Iranian Ministry of Health. With the recent arrest and release of Iranian-American Roxana Saberi, unrelated to the election protests, we now have another American citizen arrested in Iran to worry about.

©2007-2012copyrightMaggie M. Thornton