AP: Authorities arrested a number of Iranians allegedly connected to two Iranian-Americans detained on charges of conspiring against the government, the intelligence minister said Wednesday. Associated Press
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Authorities arrested a number of Iranians allegedly connected to two Iranian-Americans detained on charges of conspiring against the government, the intelligence minister said Wednesday.
The minister, Gholam Hossein Ejehei, did not say how many people were arrested or give details on their connection to Americans Hala Esfandiari and Kian Tajbakhsh.
“Internal elements related to these people have been arrested,” state radio quoted Ejehei as saying. “We are hopeful their names and reasons of detention will be announced.”
Esfandiari and Tajbakhsh have been accused of endangering Iran’s national security, and the Intelligence Ministry has alleged they were seeking to set up networks of Iranians to foment a “velvet revolution” against Iran’s Islamic government. Families and employers of the two have denied the charges.
Esfandiari, 67, the director of the Middle East program at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, has been held largely incommunicado since May.
Tajbakhsh, an urban planning consultant with the Soros Foundation’s Open Society Institute, has been held since May.