Western agents not to blame, after all (Source: Christian Science Monitor)

By , August 31, 2009 3:42 pm

An article has been published by Dan Murphy in the Christian Science Monitor news blog featuring Kian’s participation in the latest show trial:

“Late Wednesday, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei directly contradicted the narrative the country’s hard-liners have spun about their reformist opponents in recent months: the reformists are not part of an international conspiracy to destroy the Islamic republic and move Iran into a US-controlled sphere of influence, after all…

What all this means for the Iranians whose televised show trials are ongoing – among them is the apolitical Kian Tajbakhsh, a US citizen and academic who was living and working in Tehran as a consultant to the government and NGOs when he was arrested two months ago – is unclear…”

[Full article]

Iran’s Fear of a ‘Velvet Revolution’ (Source: New York Times News Blog)

By , August 28, 2009 5:49 pm

The New York Times news blog “Lede” has published an article featuring Kian:

“This week, at the start of the fourth mass trial of opposition supporters in Tehran, an Iranian prosecutor read another indictment accusing leading reformist politicians and an Iranian-American scholar named Kian Tajbakhsh of plotting to overthrow Iran’s government…

Leaving aside the fact that there appears to be no real evidence, save for what could be forced confessions, that such a plot existed, it is striking that the leaders of Iran’s Islamic republic appear to be obsessed with the peaceful transfer of power that took place in Czechoslovakia in 1989. For starters, the comparison is extremely unflattering to those in power. After the fall of the Berlin wall, the Czechoslovak Communist regime was so unpopular that it crumbled in a matter of days when it became clear that enforcing its will through violence against peaceful demonstrators was no longer an option.

But the larger problem for those in Tehran who look at the opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi and see an Iranian Vaclav Havel, is that Czech and Slovak dissidents led an entirely homegrown movement that was not in any way orchestrated by foreign powers.”

[Full article]

Iran Trial Targets Top Opposition Figures (Source: Wall Street Journal)

By , August 28, 2009 5:45 pm

The Wall Street Journal has published an article mentioning Kian in the context of the show trials:

“The court proceedings, the first of their kind in nearly two decades, have been criticized abroad and by opposition groups in Iran as “show trials” with coerced confessions, intended to terrorize the public into submission. At the same time, the trials have shocked the nation and galvanized the opposition…

In Tuesday’s court hearing, viewed online, 19 defendants, all well-known, appeared in court sitting in rows facing the judge, interspersed with security guards… They included a former deputy foreign minister, an ex-government spokesman, a former deputy speaker of parliament and two prominent newspaper editors, and an American citizen, academic Kian Tajbakhsh.”

[Full article]

Kian Tajbakhsh’s Family Denounce Tehran Show Trials (Source: Payvand Iran News)

By , August 28, 2009 5:43 pm

Payvand Iran News has reprinted the latest FreeKian09.org statement by Kian’s family and friends, including dramatic photos of Kian at the latest show trial.

[Full Article]

Release Kian Tajbakhsh! (Source: The Iranian)

By , August 28, 2009 5:39 pm

Kian’s friend Niloofar Mina has published the following article highlighting his plight in Iranian.com:

“Pictures and video footage of Tuesday’s show trials in Tehran show Kian Tajbakhsh among a group of defendants associated with Iran’s reformist movement and accused of conspiracy to foment a “velvet revolution” in Iran. The pictures show Kian seated directly behind Said Hajjarian, a reformist ideologue and a principal defendant in Tuesday’s trial. The coupling of Kian, a secular Iranian-American academic, with the leaders of the Islamist reform movement of Iran is alarming. Dressed in blue prison pajamas and brown plastic slippers Kian looks thin and depressed. His vacant gaze and apparent disorientation captured in the video clippings broadcast by Iran’s official news agency makes reading the trial transcripts devastatingly sad.

Kian Tajbakhsh has not been allowed to consult with an attorney of his choice. The collective indictment presented on Tuesday Aug. 25 is devoid of credible evidence against Kian. Instead, “confessions” of the defendants against themselves and their co-defendants are offered. The tortured and terrorized faces of the defendants leave no doubt about the horrific conditions under which the “confessions” have been obtained. So far, the public presentations of the tortured confessions have provoked disgust and anger in Iran. Clearly, the Iranian public does not believe these so called confessions. Even some of Iran’s high-ranking clerics with close ties to the ruling circles have condemned these confessions. So why does the government insists on parading the tortured bodies and souls of the accused? …

Kian’s friends are worried about his physical and emotional health and want to see him released immediately. Kian is a beloved son, father, husband, teacher, colleague and friend. Those who love him are pained to see him used as a pawn in a power struggle with which he has no connection. We want to see Kian free to leave Iran so that he can continue his life and academic career in safety.

[Full article]

US Says Iranian Charges Against American Citizen Unfounded (Source: VOA)

By , August 28, 2009 5:35 pm

David Gollust of the US State Department has written the following article about Kian’s case on behalf of the US Government:

“In some of its strongest comments to date on the Iranian dissident trials, the State Department has asserted the innocence of the lone American citizen among the defendants and says that “the world is watching” the spectacle of what have been widely described as show trials.”

[Full article]

The Meaning of Coerced Confessions in the Tehran Show Trials (Source: Dissent)

By , August 28, 2009 5:32 pm

Dissent magazine has published an article exploring the show trials in Iran and Kian’s participation in them:

“Coercing dissidents to confess complicity in imaginary Western plots is not some accidental abuse. Instead, it flows directly from the very nature of the Islamic regime and its inherent hostility to liberal-democratic nations. Belligerent or friendly, critical or cynical of human rights, focused on doing business or pressing economic sanctions—whatever stance toward Iran the liberal democracies have adopted—the IRI’s rulers have for three decades seen these countries as unrelenting nests of conspiracy dedicated to destroying the Islamic regime.

Why do the authorities in Tehran take this view? We may find an answer in the recent confession of Kian Tajbakhsh, an Iranian-American scholar and civil-society activist who was first arrested in 2007 and then rearrested during this summer’s postelection unrest…

…The entanglement, he said, “is rooted in [Reformists’] lack of understanding of the antinomy between liberal democracy and religious democracy.” The torturers who put these words in Tajbakhsh’s mouth have an acute understanding of the situation, for they know exactly what “religious” democracy means and why it is and must always be essentially at odds with liberal democracy.”

[Full Article]

Supreme Leader: ‘No foreign link’ in Iran unrest(Source: BBC)

By , August 27, 2009 2:09 pm

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has issued a statement on Iranian television in which he reportedly said:

“I do not accuse the leaders of the recent incidents to be subordinate to the foreigners, like the United States and Britain, since this issue has not been proven for me.”

[BBC report of Iranian news coverage]

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US State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly again called on Iran to release Kian:

By , August 27, 2009 2:06 pm

MR. KELLY: …we, of course, are watching very closely what’s happening in Iran. We have said consistently that the regime in Iran has to respect the will of the Iranian people and respect their fundamental human rights. I think you know that one of the detainees on trial right now in the revolutionary court is an American citizen, Kian Tajbakhsh. He has not been given a lawyer. We believe the charges that he’s facing are without foundation. And we, of course, have consistently called for his release.

Mr. Tajbakhsh poses absolutely no threat to the Iranian Government or to its national security. He played absolutely no role in the election, and he’s a scholar. As I said yesterday, he has really devoted his life to promoting understanding between the Iranian people and the American people. And he’s scrupulously stayed politically neutral.

And I’ll just close by saying that the world is watching what’s going on in Iran right now, and we will bear witness to what’s going on.

[Full transcript]

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American detainee Kian Tajbakhsh’s family and friends deny ludicrous charges lodged in 4th Iranian Revolutionary Court show trial

By , August 25, 2009 2:45 pm

Family and friends of Iranian American scholar Kian Tajbakhsh vehemently deny the ludicrous charges being lodged against him today in the 4th of a series of Revolutionary Court show trials. Kian has spent nearly 50 days in illegal captivity in an undisclosed location and without access to a lawyer. He was forced under duress to make statements in the context of the first Revolutionary Court show trial held earlier this month.

The baffling charges being lodged in court today linking Kian together with high-ranking Iranian reformists purportedly plotting to overthrow the regime with foreign support are entirely baseless. Kian is not a member of the Iranian reformist movement and has had no involvement whatsoever in pre- or post-election unrest. According to Iranian state news and as reported by the Associated Press, after the court prosecutor read out charges against the defendants including espionage, contact with foreign elements and acting against national security, Kian was reported to have emphasized that “since I’ve had no contacts with any headquarters inside and outside the country, I have no evidence to prove foreign interference.”

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