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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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:

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.”

خانواده و دوستان کیان تاجبخش اتهامات بی اساس چهارمین دادگاه نمایشی را رد میکنند

خانواده و دوستان کیان تاجبخش جامعه شناس ومحقق ایرانی- امریکایی به شدت اتهامات بی اساسی را که چهارمین دادگاه نمایشی به او وارد کرده رد میکنند. کیان 50 روز است که در زندان انفرادی در محلی نا معلوم و بدون دسترسی به وکیل گرفتار است. دستگیر کنندگان کیان در یک ماه اخیر از طریق وارد کردن فشار او را مجبور به ابراز بیاناتی در دادگاه های نمایشی کردند.

اتهامات مبهوت کننده ای که روز سه شنبه سوم شهریور در چهارمین جلسه دادگاه نمایشی قرانت شد کیان را به بالا ترین مقامات رفرمیست و توطعه بر اندازی مربوط میکند. این اتهامات کاملا بی اساس اند. کیان عضو جریانات رفرمیستی ایران نیست و به هیچ وجه دخالتی در جریانات اعتراضی قبل و بعد از انتخابات اخیر ایران نداشته است. اسوشیتد پرس در نقل گرارش خبر گزاری رسمی ایران اعلام کرد که بعد از قراعت کیفر خواست در چهارمین دادگاه نمایشی و محکوم کردن مدافعین به جاسوسی, تماس با شخسیت های خارجی و اقدامات بر علیه امنیت کشور, کیان تاکید کرد ” از آنجایی که من ارتباطی با مراکز سیاسی داخل و خارج از کشور نداشته ام هیچ نشانه ای مبنی بر دخالت خارجی نمی بینم.”

US State Department … “obviously be very concerned”

By , August 24, 2009 11:37 am

US State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly emphasized on August 25 that the United States government would “obviously be very concerned” if reports of official charges being lodged against Kian in the latest show trial are true, telling reporters:

MR. KELLY: …we have been concerned about [Kian Tajbakhsh’s] detention. We’ve been trying to get information through the Swiss Embassy on him. We have called repeatedly for his release. And this is a man who has worked for many years to help build understanding between the Iranian people and the American people through his scholarly work…”

[Full transcript]

Top reformist confesses in Iran political trial (Source: Associated Press)

In a report by the Associated Press, the 4th Revolutionary Court show trial prosecutor was reported to have read out charges against Kian including “contact with foreign elements.” Kian was quoted as saying that “since I’ve had no contacts with any headquarters inside and outside the country, I have no evidence to prove foreign interference.

[Full Article]

Top Iran reform figures on trial (Source:BBC News)

BBC News has posted a video report on the 4th Revolutionary Court show trial featuring Kian.

Stalinist Show Trials: Part Four (Source: Tehranbureau.com)

This tehranbureau.com analysis of the show trials mentioning Kian claims that:

“Once again, the “indictment” was not a legal document, but a political manifesto of the hardliners, almost all of which had been published over the past few years by the daily newspaper Kayhan, the mouthpiece of the security-intelligence apparatus, and Fars News Agency, which operates more like a propaganda machine.”

[Full analysis]

The Iran Show (Source: The New Yorker)

An article in The New Yorker entitled “The Iran Show” about the show trials notes that:

“It is one thing to persuade citizens that a narrow band of apparatchiks are enemies of the state. It is quite another to claim that a political agenda with broad support—for popular sovereignty, human rights, due process, freedom of speech—has been covertly planted by foreigners… Forced confessions, so effective in [previous years], convey little more than illegitimacy when they are used against an opposition that is asking for the counting of votes and the rule of law. Today’s show trials are a sign of how much Iran has changed in the past thirty years, and how poorly its regime has kept pace.”

[Full article]

Family and Friends Deny Report by Iranian State News of Kian’s Release from Detention

By , August 19, 2009 12:38 pm

Reporting on US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s demand that Iran immediately release Kian and other American citizens from unjust detention, Iran’s state PressTV falsely claimed that Kian has been released on bail. PressTV reported on August 15 that Kian “was released on bail, but was prohibited from leaving the country.”

This report is false. Kian continues to be detained in Iran without access to a lawyer. His family and friends have not been informed about the specific charges lodged against him or how long authorities plan to continue holding him.

Secretary Clinton emphasized on August 15 that Kian “has spent his career working to enhance mutual understanding between Iran and the United States. The government of Iran should immediately release Mr. Tajbakhsh from detention and allow him to depart Iran to continue his academic pursuits.” The US State Department has repeatedly called for Kian’s release, with the latest demand issued in its August 17 press briefing.

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Hillary Clinton demands the immediate release of Kian
(Source: US State Dept.)

By , August 15, 2009 4:38 am

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has issued a public statement demanding that the Iranian government release Kian immediately:

CLINTON: The United States is deeply concerned about the welfare of our American citizens who have been detained or are missing in Iran. We once again urge Iran’s leadership to quickly resolve all outstanding American citizen cases.

This includes the case of the American scholar, Kian Tajbakhsh, who has spent his career working to enhance mutual understanding between Iran and the United States. The government of Iran should immediately release Mr. Tajbakhsh from detention and allow him to depart Iran to continue his academic pursuits…

Our goal is to ensure the safe return of all our missing or unjustly detained American citizens to the United States as quickly as possible so that they can be reunited with their families.”

[Full statement]

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U.N. experts say Iran tortured to extract confessions

By , August 13, 2009 4:31 am

As reported in this CNN article, three independent United Nations human rights experts have accused Iran of torturing confessions from detainees charged with fomenting political unrest. The article mentions Kian as follows:

“Iran is conducting a mass trial of about 100 Iranian defendants in its Revolutionary Court. Reformist politicians, lawyers and journalists are among those accused of protesting in an attempt to overturn government leadership.

Among the defendants are Seyyed Mohammad Abtahi, a former Iranian vice president; Maziar Bahari, an Iranian-Canadian reporter for Newsweek magazine; and Kian Tajbakhsh, an Iranian-American scholar.”

[Full article]

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U.S. State Department statement on Kian Tajbakhsh

By , August 10, 2009 7:46 am

The US State Department has issued another statement calling for Kian’s release. Deputy Spokesperson Robert Wood told reporters:

MR. WOOD: Well, let me just say this. The United States condemns the arbitrary arrest, harassment, and detentions that are continuing to take place in Iran. Among those on trial are students, lawyers, human rights activists, journalists, academics, as well as ordinary citizens who are simply seeking their universal right to express themselves peacefully and live their lives free of intimidation. Of particular concern is the continued detention of Iranian American scholar Kian Tajbakhsh. We urge Iran’s leadership to release Mr. Tajbakhsh without further delay. The Iranian Government’s decision to hold individuals such as Kian Tajbakhsh on groundless charges and without the benefit of legal representation clearly violates its international obligations.

[Full text of US State Department press briefing]

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Trial of protesters seems only to hurt Iran, analysts say
(Source: LA Times)

By , August 9, 2009 12:40 pm

This LA Times article mentions Kian in the context of the second round of show trials in Iran on Saturday:

“…By provocatively showcasing confessions by the French citizen, Iranian American scholar Kian Tajbakhsh and Iranian Canadian Newsweek reporter Maziar Bahari, as well as by British and French embassy staffers, the trials will almost certainly further Iran’s diplomatic isolation, highlight its sometimes erratic political system and reduce its leverage just as the West and Tehran are considering talks on resolving differences over the Iranian nuclear program…”

[Full article: Trial of protesters seems only to hurt Iran, analysts say]

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Orwell’s warnings (Source: The Daily Times)

By , August 8, 2009 6:55 pm

Kian’s friend Pamela Kilpadi has published an editorial in the Daily Times of Pakistan:

“[Kian’s] only apparent “crime” has been to dare live his life as an independent American Iranian scholar in Iran… [He] was swept up in a sudden, unimaginable convulsion — Iran’s greatest political and popular upheaval since the 1979 revolution. As award-winning journalist and Iran scholar Robin Wright recently noted: “Although embryonic, today’s public resolve [in Iran] is reminiscent of civil disobedience in colonial India before independence or in the American Deep South in the 1960s.” The regime lashed out viciously…

“If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say of this or that event, it never happened — that, surely, was more terrifying than mere torture and death,” Orwell wrote in 1984. “And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed — if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’”

Painfully, the details of where Kian has been taken, by whom, and for how long remains unclear. What is clear is that the struggle for the freedom of Kian and other innocent victims of official repression is also the struggle for our own. Our own freedom of thought, and our own future.

Orwell’s warnings are as relevant today as ever. If we, as individuals and as members of society, fail to stand up for what we believe is right, we consent to wearing an ugly mask. And our face grows to fit it.”

[Full article: Orwell’s warnings]

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With Iran Blaming West, Dual Citizens are Targets
(Source: Washington Post)

Washington Post reporter Tara Bahrampour has written this piece about the cases of Kian and Canadian Iranian Maziar Bahari:

“They are trying to make a case to their own constituents, and to international constituents, that what has taken place has a foreign element behind it, so dual nationals, people with ties to Western NGOs, are targets,” said Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a friend of Tajbakhsh. “I don’t believe for a second that they genuinely perceive Kian to be a threat to national security.”…

Friends said he [Kian] had purposely avoided the election-related turmoil, even abstaining from voting. “He felt confident there was no rationale for him to be imprisoned,” Sadjadpour said. Two days after the vote, Tajbakhsh wrote to him in an e-mail: “I’m keeping my head down. I have nothing journalistic to add to all the reports that are here.”…

“I can guess that they were digging into the velvet revolution file, and they needed a credible voice to talk about this velvet revolution, and the only person who was there was Kian,” [Haleh Esfandiari] said. “I’ve heard they have rooms full of charts about universities, think tanks, NGOs and are then drawing parallels from Georgia, Ukraine and so on. And then they go after truly, truly innocent people like Kian.”…

[Full article: With Iran Blaming West, Dual Citizens are Targets]

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Sting Makes Appeal for Kian Tajbakhsh and Iranian Detainees

By , August 6, 2009 10:47 pm

CloseUpSmall.jpg“The false imprisonment of Iranian/American scholar Kian Tajbakhsh and 100 other activists involved in the ongoing democracy movement in Iran deserves our immediate attention.

Continue reading 'Sting Makes Appeal for Kian Tajbakhsh and Iranian Detainees'»

بازداشت نادرستِ محقق ایرانی- امریکایی کیان تاجبخش و 100 نفر از فعالان سیاسیِ حرکت دمکراتیکِ کنونی در ایران سزاوار توجه بی درنگ همه ماست.

CloseUpSmall.jpgپنجشنبه 6 آگست 2009

بازداشت نادرستِ محقق ایرانی- امریکایی کیان تاجبخش و 100 نفر از فعالان سیاسیِ حرکت دمکراتیکِ کنونی در ایران سزاوار توجه بی درنگ همه ماست.
من از تمام کسانی که در جوامع دمکراتیک زندگی میکنند درخواست میکنم که برعلیه سیستم کنونیِ رژیم ایران که با سرکوب سیاسی و نقض حقوق بشر فعالین را تهدید به سکوت میکند ندای اعتزاض بلند کنند.
بدون آزادی بیان و حق اعتراض دمکراسی واقعی امکان پذیر نیست.


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