Posts tagged: Hillary Clinton

Kian Tajbakhsh: Still Captive in Iran (Source: Columbia News)

By , March 12, 2010 10:46 am

Kian’s colleagues at Columbia University reported on their recent efforts urging his release:

“Columbia alumnus Kian Tajbakhsh was supposed to join the faculty of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation last fall. Instead, the Iranian-born scholar was arrested in July and jailed at Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, accused of supporting the uprising that followed the country’s disputed elections last June and of spying for the United States.

Now, many of those in the Columbia community who expected to welcome Tajbakhsh as a colleague and teacher are working to win his freedom.

Last month, some 20 members of the Columbia faculty—including the deans of the School of General Studies , the Graduate School of Journalism and the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)—signed a letter addressed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seeking her assistance in securing Tajbakhsh’s release.“There’s nothing political about his work,” says Professor Ken Prewitt , vice president for Global Centers and Carnegie Professor of Public Affairs. “He’s being persecuted, as far as we can tell, for being in Iran at the wrong time. This is a violation of the principles of freedom of mobility for scholars.”

“The Iranian government has established a pattern of harassment of scholars,” the letter stated. The arrest “is a destructive and pernicious act that does not address the problems confronting the Islamic Republic of Iran, now or in the future.”

Secretary Clinton wrote back Feb. 1, saying that “the espionage charges against him are groundless” and that the State Department “is using every available diplomatic tool to achieve Dr. Tajbakhsh’s release.”…

Columbia professors have posted video appeals on FreeKian09.org. In one, Mark Wigley , dean of the architecture school, describes Tajbakhsh as “one of the leading experts in the evolution of the city and the way that leaders can best provide services to local populations.” Wigley emphasizes the architectural leadership of Iran and notes that Tajbakhsh was to be the first full-time Iranian scholar at the school.

“It’s incredibly important for our faculty, our professors, our colleagues, our students to learn from Iran,” he says. “If Kian was going to do any of the things he’s been accused of doing, he certainly would not have accepted this full-time academic position here in New York City.”

Ira Katznelson , a professor of political science and history at Columbia, says he first met Kian in the late 1980s, and sponsored his dissertation. Through “long conversations, I discovered what so many of us know: that Kian is a person of luminous intelligence, moral commitment and fierce desire to understand the world and make it better.” …

[Link to full article]

Clinton urges Iran to ‘unilaterally release’ Americans (Source: AFP)

By , February 3, 2010 5:22 am

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking to reporters in Washington with Bahrain’s foreign minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa, renewed calls for the unconditional release of Americans held in Iran including Kian:

“WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Wednesday on  Iran to “unilaterally release” three hikers and other Americans in Iranian custody as she denied there were any negotiations on a prisoner swap.

In a state television interview, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadineja said Tuesday that talks about exchanging prisoners with Washington were underway when asked about the fate of three American hikers detained in Iran…

“There are no negotiations taking place between the United States and Iran. We believe they should unilaterally release our detained citizens,” the chief US diplomat said.

Clinton repeated previous demands that all US citizens held in Iran should be released “without delay” on humanitarian grounds because their detention “is baseless.”

Earlier, her spokesman Philip Crowley dismissed the idea of a prisoner swap with Iran, saying Americans in Iranian custody cannot be equated with Iranians convicted in US courts.

“We’re not interested in a swap per se,” Crowley told reporters. “We are interested in resolving the cases of our citizens.”

Iran is holding a number of US citizens in custody, including hikers Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, who were arrested on July 31 after wandering over the Iraq border into Iranian territory.

Crowley added that Washington also wants the release of US citizens Reza Taghavi and Kian Tajbakhsh, and remains concerned about the fate of Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who went missing during a visit to Iran in 2007.

“There’s not really an equivalence, if you will, between, say, an Iranian citizen who has been indicted and or convicted of arms trafficking, in violation of… international law, and three hikers who wandered across an unmarked border,” Crowley said.

But he and Clinton repeated the US stand that Washington remained open to questions from Tehran about Iranians held in the United States.

“To the extent that Iran has questions about Iranian citizens in US custody, we would remain… willing to entertain those questions and facilitate consular access, if that’s what Iran desires,” Crowley said.

Iran alleges that 11 Iranians are “illegally” detained in the United States, including nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri, who went missing in Saudi Arabia while on pilgrimage to Mecca last year.

Crowley said he did not know how many Iranians were in US custody.

In a case unveiled for the first time on December 2 last year, US prosecutors said an Iranian man, Amir Ardebili, pleaded guilty in May 2008 to 14 counts of violating US arms control rules.

Court documents obtained two weeks later by AFP showed he had been sentenced to five years in prison for trafficking weapons to Tehran.

Prosecutors said Ardebili was apprehended in an unnamed Central Asian country in October 2007 and extradited to United States, where he had been secretly detained since January 2008.

The State Department said an Iranian government representative could visit him.”

[Link to full article]

Faculty seek Hillary Clinton’s support in prisoner’s release (Source: Columbia Spectator)

By , January 13, 2010 3:21 pm

A group of Columbia University faculty members called on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to do everything possible to obtain Kian’s release:

“…Tajbakhsh, who earned his Ph.D. from Columbia, was supposed to teach at Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation this year, but he was arrested last summer in Iran during the aftermath of the elections. He faces multiple charges of spying and being a threat to the national government…

…this Monday, Jan. 11, a group of faculty sent a letter to Clinton… The letter begins, “As members of the faculty at Columbia University, we wish to express our deep concerns for the well-being of Kian Tajbakhsh.” …
The letter also denounces Iran’s “pattern of harassment of scholars,” including Mohammad Maleki, the former chancellor of Tehran University. “Attacking and imprisoning scholars is a destructive and pernicious act that does not address the problems confronting the Islamic Republic of Iran, now or in the future,” it states.

“Everybody knows that the regime is using coercive repression on its critics inside of the country,” [Columbia political science professor and department chair Andrew] Nathan said. “This person [Tajbakhsh] is a scholar, who is coming to this university as a scholar and a teacher. He is not a politician. He hasn’t used violence. He is not a terrorist. He is using academic freedom, which should be protected.“

[Full Article]

Statement by United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on missing and detained Americans in Iran (Source: U.S. State Department)

By , December 6, 2009 5:02 pm

In a statement marking the 1,000th day since the disappearance of American citizen Robert Levinson in Iran, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called on the Government of Iran to resolve Kian’s case as well:

“Mr. Levinson’s case remains a priority for the United States, as does resolving the cases of other American citizens who are unjustly detained in Iran: Joshua Fattal, Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd, Kian Tajbakhsh, and Reza Taghavi.”

[Full statement]

Joint US-Canada statement on Kian and other Americans and Canadians detained in Iran (Source: US State Department)

By , September 26, 2009 4:05 pm

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon issued a joint statement calling on Iran to safely and rapidly return Kian and all detained and missing foreign citizens to their respective countries:

“Canada and the United States are deeply concerned about the continued detention of Canadian and American citizens, including dual nationals, inside Iran and once again urge Iran’s leadership to positively resolve these cases as a humanitarian gesture and in accordance with their obligations under international conventions. Individuals in detention include Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari; Iranian-American scholar Kian Tajbakhsh; retired Iranian-American businessman Reza Taghavi; and American hikers Joshua Fattal, Shane Bauer, and Sarah Shourd. American Robert Levinson has also been missing in Iran since March 2007.

We call on the Government of Iran to provide American and Canadian detainees with immediate consular access, full legal rights and protection, and a complete and transparent account of the charges against them.

As we have stated in the past, we fully respect the sovereignty of Iran. At the same time, we seek the safe and rapid return of all detained and missing citizens in Iran to their respective countries so that they might be reunited with their families.”

[Link to statement]
[Link to September 25 State Department press briefing by Spokesman Ian Kelly]

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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Clinton says trial show Iran is ‘afraid of its own people’ (Source: CNN)

By , August 6, 2009 12:34 pm

During an official visit to Kenya, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commented on the cases of Kian and Canadian Iranian Maziar Bahari:

…”It is a show trial, there’s no doubt about it,” Clinton told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in a wide-ranging interview to be broadcast on his “GPS” program Sunday.

“It demonstrates I think better than any of us could ever say that this Iranian leadership is afraid of their own people, and afraid of the truth and the facts coming out.”…

Those on trial include Newsweek reporter Maziar Bahari, who has dual citizenship in Iran and Canada, and Kian Tajbakhsh, an Iranian-American scholar. The trial, which began over the weekend, is scheduled to resume Saturday, according to Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency.

This week, the State Department issued a statement expressing deep concern for Tajbakhsh…”

[Full article Clinton says trial show Iran is 'afraid of its own people']

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