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U.S. Calls For Scholar's Release


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More than 100 people were put on trial in a revolutionary court in Tehran earlier this month in a mass proceeding in which all were accused of plotting against the Iranian government and no defense lawyers were present. The prisoners were among the hundreds of people arrested in Iran after the disputed presidential election in June.

Iranian American scholar Kian Tajbakhsh was one of the defendants. U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Robert Wood said the U.S. is "deeply concerned" that Mr. Tajbakhsh was charged "without the benefit of a lawyer":

"Given that the charges facing Mr. Tajbakhsh are without foundation, we call on Iran's leadership to release Mr. Tajbakhsh without delay."

State Department deputy spokesman Wood said that the Iranian American scholar "has played absolutely no role in the election and poses no threat to the Iranian government or its national security:"

"As an independent academic, Mr. Tajbakhsh has always sought political neutrality. The right to due process in Iran which includes the right to legal representation, is not only addressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which Iran is a signatory, it is also ratified in its own constitution."

At the mass trial in Tehran's Revolutionary Court, some prisoners admitted to conspiring against the Iranian government in what many observers say were obviously coerced confessions. "The world is watching what is happening in Iran," said deputy spokesman Wood, "and will bear witness."

The protection of American citizens while abroad is the U.S. Government's highest priority. The U.S. remains committed to bringing home those Americans who have been unjustly detained, remain missing, or are otherwise detained against their will.

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