Persons connected to Esfandiari and Tajbakhsh arrested: minister

July 26, 2007 - 0:0

TEHRAN -- Intelligence Minister Mohsen Ejeii confirmed here on Wednesday that some individuals who were connected to the U.S.-based Iranians Haleh Esfandiari and Kian Tajbakhsh have been arrested.

Esfandiari, 67, is the director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She was arrested after returning to Iran late last year and charged with endangering national security. Three other Iranian-Americans, Kian Tajbakhsh, who had ties with the Open Society Institute of U.S. billionaire George Soros, Parnaz Azima, a journalist who works for the U.S.-funded Radio Farda, and Ali Shakeri, a founding board member of the Center for Citizen Peacebuilding of the University of California at Irvine, face similar charges. Confessions of Haleh Esfandiari and Kian Tajbakhsh were broadcasted on TV last week. Ejeii voiced hope that the names and the reasons behind the detention of the newly arrested individuals to be announced soon. “It is wrong to say they were related to a specific party or group,” he said. If the convicts cooperate with the judicial system, their punishment will be commuted, he noted, adding that they have not been put on trial yet. RMN/MS END MN