[Marxism] Iran to release US scholar

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Aug 21 07:25:11 MDT 2007

Washington Post
Tuesday, August 21, 2007; 8:54 AM
Iran to Release U.S. Scholar on Bail

By Robin Wright

American scholar Haleh Esfandiari is to be released on bail today after 
more than 100 days in Iran's notorious Evin Prison, according to Iran's 
Pars news agency.

Her family has also been notified that she may be let go today. 
Esfandiari, director of Middle East programs at the Smithsonian's 
Woodrow Wilson Center, is one of at least four Americans detained in Iran.

The Iranian government said Esfandiari had been involved in unspecified 
"crimes against national security" with the goal of helping U.S. efforts 
at fomenting a "soft revolution" in Iran.

The 67-year-old grandmother was in Tehran in December last year visiting 
her ailing 93-year-old mother when her passport was taken and she was 
put under virtual house arrest. She was taken to prison on May 8.

"We are very pleased that after 3 and a half months in prison that she 
is being released. I hope this means she can come home soon. We don't 
know anything about conditions of her release and we're waiting to hear 
from the judiciary what the terms of the release are," said her husband 
Shaul Bakhash, a George Mason University professor.

The detention of the dual American-Iranian nationals has been one of 
several sources of growing tension between the United States and Iran, 
along with Iran's intervention in Iraq and its controversial nuclear 

Another American being held is Kian Tajbakhsh, a New York based social 
scientist who had been working on health and anti-drug programs in 
Tehran in cooperation with the Iranian government. He was a consultant 
for George Soros' Open Society Institute.

If it happens, the release would follow the airing of a two-part 
documentary on Iranian television last month in which Esfandiari and 
Tajbakhsh talked about their activities on behalf of two think tanks. 
Neither said anything incriminating.

The other two Americans being detained are Ali Shakeri, a California 
businessman, who was picked up at Tehran's international airport as he 
was leaving just hours before Esfandiari, and Parnaz Azima, a 
correspondent for U.S.-funded Radio Farda.

Both Shakeri and Azima were also in Iran visiting ailing mothers. 
Shakeri's mother died while he was in Tehran.

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