Planner, Scholar Inprisoned in Iran

This from a friend:

On May 11th 2007, Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh, 45, an urban planning expert and senior research fellow at the New School in New York, was arrested at his home in Tehran by the Iranian security services. He has since been detained in the notorious Evin prison and has not seen a lawyer or been permitted visitors. This comes on the heels of the sudden imprisonment May 8th of Haleh Esfandiari, director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Columbia University President Lee Bollinger released this statement:

Columbia University is urgently concerned about the safety, well-being and human rights of two Iranian-American scholars who are under arrest in Iran. Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh is an expert on urban planning who has worked for multilateral, international, and Iranian public organizations. Dr. Tajbakhsh earned his Ph.D. and Master of Philosophy from Columbia University, where he studied urban planning and sociology. Dr. Haleh Esfandiari is director of the Middle East Program at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars. Both were reportedly detained and charged with ‘endangering national security through propaganda against the system and espionage for foreigners.’ These reports are deeply troubling to our university community, and we urge that these scholars be released on humanitarian grounds.

More from Woodrow Wilson International Center for ScholarsThe New School University… and Reuters: “3 Iranian-Americans Charged by Tehran With Espionage

Author: Rob Goodspeed