Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Islamic Republic "detains" second Iranian-American scholar

This time it is Kian Tajbakhsh, an indophile. A BBC report says the Soros Foundation has expressed concern about the scholar who it says was detained in Iran earlier this month. Tajbakhsh works as its consultant to facilitate public health and humanitarian assistance with the knowledge of the Iranian government. We already know Haleh Esfandiari, another American-Iranian scholar, was detained in December last year. Such detentions are regular in Iran. Another Iranian indophile (Ramin Jahanbegloo) was in the news for the same reason when he was detained at the airport in Tehran in April 2006 after his arrival from India. He was released in August from Evin, the notorious prison in Tehran after widespread international opposition, including from several Nobel laureates and the EU. Jahanbegloo, who was a rofessor of democracy at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in Delhi, was detained allegedly for his comments on Ahmadinejad and the holocaust in an interview to a Spanish newspaper.

Coming to Tajbakhsh, this news is far more shocking because I met him while I was in Iran last May working on my thesis on Indo-Iranian relations. He came across as somebody very eloquent on Indo-Iranian ties and argued how Iran has had a huge influence on Indian literature but that India, on the other hand, has had little impact on the insular Iranian society. I sincerely hope and pray for his imemdiate safe release.


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