Statement from family and friends of Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh on his arrest in Iran

By , July 13, 2009 4:41 pm

We are issuing this statement to draw your attention to the arrest in Iran of respected American Iranian scholar Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh.

At 9:00pm Tehran time on July 9, 2009, Iranian agents arrested Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh at his home in Tehran. Two people who identified themselves as Iranian security officials arrived at his residence in Tehran late Thursday. The officials questioned him and his wife and searched the residence for three hours, before taking him away along with two computers and other items.

We have no information about where Kian was taken.

An American citizen, Dr. Tajbakhsh is a leading scholar with an international reputation. As a social scientist and urban planner he has always sought political neutrality in an effort to bridge cultural divides and honor his much-loved homeland. He taught at the New School in New York City for seven years and remains a senior research fellow there. He has published two widely praised books, The Promise of the City: Space, Identity and Politics in Contemporary Social Thought (University of California Press, 2001) and Social Capital: Trust, Democracy and Development (published in Persian, 2005). He has published over 20 articles in leading scholarly journals and delivered lectures at major international conferences on urban planning, public health, and municipal government. Dr. Tajbakhsh has had a long affiliation with the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), the leading academic organization for social scientists in the United States. He has served as a Steering Committee Member for the SSRC’s Middle East and North Africa Program and contributed in significant ways to the SSRC’s academic projects. Throughout the course of his career, Dr. Tajbakhsh has earned a reputation as a distinguished and respected scholar throughout the Middle East, South Asia, Europe, and the United States.

In addition to his academic career, Dr. Tajbakhsh has worked as a consultant for several organizations including Iran’s Municipalities Organization, the Social Security Organization, and international organizations such as the World Bank, the Open Society Institute and the Dutch Association of Municipalities. He spent four months in Evin prison in 2007 after being falsely accused along with three other Iranian-Americans of endangering national security. Following his release he ended his association with the Open Society Institute. Recently he has been researching and writing several books and spending time with his family and first child, born in 2007.

It is difficult to imagine why a brilliant scholar and friend like Kian would be targeted by the Iranian regime. We strongly appeal for your help in revoking the decision to detain him and ensuring his safe return to his family.

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