Reuters: Iran’s judicial authorities have completed their investigations into two detained Iranian-Americans, a senior official said on Sunday, in a case that has added to high tensions with Washington.
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran’s judicial authorities have completed their investigations into two detained Iranian-Americans, a senior official said on Sunday, in a case that has added to high tensions with Washington.
“The two have some written work to do and then the decision will be made about them,” Tehran Deputy Prosecutor Hassan Haddad told the official IRNA news agency. Haddad, in charge of the file, did not specify what he meant by “written work”.
Last month, Iranian television aired “confessions” by Haleh Esfandiari and Kian Tajbakhsh, which the Foreign Ministry said had revealed a U.S.-backed plot to topple Iran’s clerical establishment.
The United States has denounced the broadcast as illegitimate and coerced, urging Tehran to immediately release the two dual nationals, arrested separately in May while visiting Iran from the United States.
The two countries, which have not had diplomatic ties since shortly after the 1979 Islamic revolution, are also embroiled in an escalating standoff over Tehran’s nuclear programme. The West suspects it is aimed at making bombs, a charge Iran denies.
The detentions of the two Iranian-Americans coincided with what rights groups and diplomats said was a fresh crackdown on dissent in Iran, with the authorities targeting women’s rights activists, students, journalists and labour figures.
Iran dismisses accusations it is violating human rights.
Esfandiari is an academic at the U.S.-based Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars. Tajbakhsh is a consultant with the Soros Institute, founded by billionaire investor George Soros.
The programme in which they appeared, called “In the Name of Democracy”, did not mention two other detained Iranian-Americans, one of whom has been freed on bail.
Iranian television has in the past broadcast “confessions” by dissidents serving jail sentences for alleged attempts to undermine the Islamic Republic.
In the IRNA interview, Haddad also touched upon the case of dissident labour leader Mansoor Osanloo, detained last month for “distributing statements against the system”.
His union, which groups bus drivers, is an illegal organisation but his arrest was not related to labour issues, the prosecutor said.
“I told Osanloo ‘your behaviour creates problems for the country’s security’,” Haddad said. “Because he has travelled abroad he thinks he can do whatever he wants.”