Iran General NewsTehran to bail second US-Iranian scholar

Tehran to bail second US-Iranian scholar

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AFP: US-Iranian scholar Kian Tajbakhsh is to be released on bail after spending over three months in jail in Tehran on security-related charges, a top judiciary official said on Tuesday. TEHRAN, Sept 4, 2007 (AFP) – US-Iranian scholar Kian Tajbakhsh is to be released on bail after spending over three months in jail in Tehran on security-related charges, a top judiciary official said on Tuesday.

The announcement came the day after fellow US-Iranian scholar Haleh Esfandiari left Iran following her release on a three-billion-rial (320,000 dollars) bail from three months detention in Tehran’s Evin prison.

“Investigations are ongoing into his (Tajbakhsh’s) case and after this is completed, his detention writ will change to bail,” Tehran’s deputy chief prosecutor in charge of security crimes, Hassan Hadad, told state broadcasting.

Hadad did not give any information over when the bail order could be given. His comments were the first official confirmation that Tajbakhsh would be also bailed.

Urban planner Tajbakhsh has also been held in Evin since May for alleged links to a US drive to topple the Islamic regime. The academic had worked for with the Open Society Institute of the US billionaire George Soros.

Hadad confirmed that Esfandiari’s case had not been closed despite her departure from Iran to Austria, where she will spend time with her family before returning to the United States.

“Esfandiari’s case is near completion and by next week an indictment will be issued and it (the case) will be sent to court,” he said.

Esfandiari, 67, heads the Middle East programme at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Both Esfandiari and Tajbakhsh had been accused by the authorities of using their academic contacts to promote an alleged US government drive to topple Iran’s Islamic authorities with a “soft revolution.”

The arrests increased tensions between Tehran and Washington at a time of growing concerns about the Iranian nuclear programme, which the United States claims is aimed at making an atomic weapon.

Meanwhile, it emerged that a US-Iranian journalist who has been stuck in Iran for the last seven months after her passport was confiscated had finally been given permission to leave the country.

Parnaz Azima, who works for Radio Free Europe’s US-funded Persian language arm Radio Farda, was charged with working for a “counter-revolutionary” media but was not jailed after paying a bail of around 550,000 dollars.

“Parnaz Azima collected her passport from authorities today and told Radio Farda that she would leave the country in the near future,” the Prague-based radio said in a statement.

There is still no news about a fourth US-Iranian, Ali Shakeri, a California-based businessman and board member of a private conflict resolution group, who is also believed to have been detained since May but on different charges.

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