Family and Friends of Detained Iranian American Scholar Kian Tajbakhsh Strongly Deny Accusations by Iranian Authorities and Denounce Iran’s Use of Forced Statements by Political Prisoners
In Iran’s first official acknowledgment of Kian’s arrest on July 9, Iranian Press TV reported on Monday that “Iranian authorities detained Tajbakhsh on grounds of cooperating with Hossein Rassam, the head of the security and political division of the British Embassy in Tehran, who is also in custody over post-election turmoil.”
These false accusations are entirely groundless. Those who know Kian understand that his persecution by Iranian authorities is not only tragic but ironic—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. His work is a valued asset that the Government of Iran should seek to protect.
The Iranian state television report on Kian’s arrest also notes that “Iran blames foreign powers, the US and Britain in particular, for what it calls interference in its internal affairs and post-vote disturbances, which have claimed the lives of at least 20 people.”
We are concerned that Kian is being held in an attempt by the Iranian authorities to obtain forced statements from him to use in a televised show trial. It is exceedingly important that we all strongly denounce Iran’s serial practice of extracting forced statements from political prisoners. Such statements are repeatedly extracted under conditions of torture for the sole purpose of staging televised show trials in an attempt to deceive the Iranian public.