Nok en amerikaner med iranske avstamning er blitt arrestert under besøk i Iran. Kian Tajbakhsh arbeider for George Soros sitt Open Society Institute, og arbeidet hans i Iran skjedde i full forståelse med myndighetene.
Men andre myndigheter som har med sikkerhet å gjøre, kom til at Kian Tajbakhsh var en sikkerhetsrisiko, og at han egentlig var ute etter å undergrave regimet.
Earlier this month, Iranian authorities arrested Haleh Esfandiari, director of the Middle East Program at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, and charged her with setting up a network to overthrow the Islamic regime.
Esfandiari, who is also Iranian-American, had been in Iran visiting her ailing 93-year-old mother when she was prevented from leaving in December and her passport was stolen. She was interrogated repeatedly before her eventual arrest this month.
Lee H. Hamilton, the Wilson Center’s president and director, defended Esfandiari, saying she «is a scholar and has never been a spy.» Her work had involved bringing Iranian scholars and others to the U.S. to give talks on the political situation in Iran, he said.
When it announced the charges against Esfandiari, the Iranian Intelligence Ministry accused the Open Society Institute of also being involved in the plot to overthrow the government.
Another Iranian-American, journalist Parnaz Azima, who works for the U.S.-funded Radio Farda, has been prohibited from leaving Iran since her passport was seized in January. She has been interrogated several times by intelligence agents, the media watchdog group Reporters Without Borders said in a statement Wednesday.
Another American, former FBI agent Robert Levinson, disappeared in March after going to Iran’s resort island of Kish, and his whereabouts are unknown.