To the Editors:
We, the undersigned, are compelled to express our outrage at the arrest on July 9 of the noted Iranian-American scholar Kian Tajbakhsh. Though not involved in the recent protests in Iran, Kian was arrested in his home by agents of the Iranian security police and is being detained in an unknown location.
Kian Tajbakhsh spent four months in prison in solitary confinement in 2007 on unspecified charges of trying to foment a “velvet revolution” against the Islamic regime. After his release from prison, Tajbakhsh decided to stay and work in Iran and deliberately avoided politics. We believe that Kian is again being held in solitary confinement and may be being tortured in order to extract a false confession.
We strongly deplore and condemn the detention and persecution of Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh and call upon all international organizations, academic and professional associations, and other groups and individuals devoted to the promotion and defense of human rights to strongly pro- test and condemn his arbitrary detention, to call for his immediate and unconditional release, and to urge the officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran to respect, guarantee, and implement the provisions and principles of human rights as specified in international conventions and treaties to which Iran has long been a signatory.
Juan Cole, University of Michigan; Arien Mack, New School for Social Research; Steven Pinker, Harvard University; Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; and more than 1,000 others.
September 24, 2009