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Escalating intimidation

Published Friday, May 25, 2007



Paris, 25 May (IPS) As the Islamic Republic of Iran is increasing its pressures over dissidents, particularly intellectuals, hundreds of leading Iranian and foreign scholars, researchers, writers, and intellectuals have signed a petition calling on the clerical-led Islamic regime of Iran to free Mrs. Haleh Esfandiari, the director of the Middle East program at the nonpartisan Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C

According to the authorities, Mrs. Esfandiari, 67, who went to Tehran some months ago to visit her ageing and sick mother of 93, was “plotting” against the security of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

On Wednesday 23 May, American media revealed that Mr. Kian Tajbakhsh, the representative for George Soros’s Open Society in Iran had been jailed, also accused of propaganda and activities against the security of the State of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“Not only she confessed to her crimes, but she also named the representative in Iran of the Soros Fondation, an organization known for organising soft and colour revolutions” an official statement from the Information (Intelligence and Security) Minister alleged, ten days after the Woodrow Wilson announced the detention of the Director of it’s Center for Scholars.

On Wednesday 23 May, American media revealed that Mr. Kian Tajbakhsh, the representative for George Soros’s Open Society in Iran had been jailed, also accused of propaganda and activities against the security of the State of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

A former Director of the World Bank in Iran, Mr. Tajbakhsh used to enjoy the esteem of Iranian authorities and was regularly contacted by various the officials, ministries and research centres seeking his help on different economic or financial problems.

Mr. Tajbakhsh is the third American-Iranian to be detained and Iranian political analysts are of the view that by arresting them, the Government of the fanatic Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad seek to force Washington to stop its pressures over Tehran concerning Iranian controversial nuclear activities in the one hand and exchange them against five Iranian Revolutionary Guards officer arrested by the Americans in the Iraq Kurdish city of Erbil more than four months ago. On Friday, Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad once again reiterated that his country would “never” bow to the international community demanding it suspend enriching uranium, an activity that could ultimately lead to the fabrication of a nuclear bomb.<div>
Below is the text of the Statement by scholars of Iran and the Middle East protesting the detention of Dr. Haleh Esfandiari by the Iranian government, as posted on 21 May 2007 by Iranian.com .</div>

“The arbitrary detention and confinement of Dr. Haleh Esfandiari, a prominent Iranian-American scholar and the director of the Middle East program at the nonpartisan Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., is the latest distressing episode in an ongoing crackdown by the Islamic Republic against those who, directly or indirectly, strive to bolster the foundations of civil society and promote human rights in Iran.

“Over the past year-and-a-half, this onslaught has targeted prominent women's rights activists, leaders of non-governmental organizations, student and teacher associations, and labor unions. In recent weeks, scores of women's rights activists have been harassed, physically attacked and detained for no greater a crime than peaceful demonstrations and circulating petitions calling for the elimination of discriminatory laws and practices, University students for peacefully protesting the erosion of the administrative and academic independence of their universities.

“It is in this context that the months-long harassment, extra judicial arrest and incarceration of Dr. Esfandiari -- which was admitted belatedly by the nts across the country, have faced expulsion, arrest, and imprisonment. Iranian Government on May 13, 2007 (New York Times, May 14, 2007) -- exemplify the relentless campaign by the leaders of the Islamic Republic against the most basic principles of human rights. We find Dr. Esfandiari's case particularly disturbing because it is tinged with invidious anti-Semitic rhetoric and conspiratorial worldviews.

Escalating intimidation-Body

“The egregious charges leveled against her by the semi-official daily Kayhan, make Dr. Esfandiari the latest victim in the Iranian government's repeated and escalating attempts to intimidate and silence human rights activists and promoters of civil society, as well as those who advocate the path of dialogue and moderation in Iran's foreign policy. In her capacity as the director of the Middle East Program at the Wilson Center, Dr. Esfandiari has been a staunch advocate of peaceful dialogue between Tehran and Washington in resolving their disputes.

Over the past year-and-a-half, this onslaught has targeted prominent women's rights activists, leaders of non-governmental organizations, student and teacher associations, and labor unions.

“We believe that, despite certain internal disagreements among members of its ruling elite, the Islamic Republic of Iran -- as any other member of the United Nations -- should be held fully accountable for its actions. Only through a clear and united stand against the many breaches of human rights and civil liberties in Iran can one hope to encourage those elements within the Islamic Republic who recognize the importance of human rights for Iran's standing within the international community.

“We call upon all international organizations, academic and professional associations, and other groups and individuals devoted to the promotion and defense of human rights to strongly protest and condemn the arbitrary detention of Dr. Esfandiari, to call for her immediate and unconditional release, and to urge the officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran to respect, guarantee and implement the provisions and principles of human rights as specified in international conventions and treaties to which Iran has long been a signatory. ENDS ESFANDIARI 25507
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As of January 2009, this site is definitely closed, but you can follow Safa Haeri on his new blog: DAMAVAND at http://wwwdamavandsafa.blogspot.com


Escalating intimidation-Main
Mrs. Esfandiari is a victim of the reppressive policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran



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