Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Iran holds 4 Iranian - Americans for Spying / Blames George Soros

News out of Iran --

Iran's judiciary says three Iranian-Americans detained in Iran have been "formally charged" with endangering national security and espionage.

A judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi said the Intelligence Ministry filed the charges against Haleh Esfandiari, Kian Tajbakhsh and journalist Parnaz Azima. He did not announce any trial date for any of the three.

Esfandiari is the director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a Washington-based foundation. She has been held in a Tehran's Evin prison since May 8, after being prevented from leaving the country.

Tajbakhsh, who is an urban planning consultant affiliated with the New York City-based Open Society Institute, has been imprisoned in Tehran since May 11. He has also worked for the Open Society Institute of US billionaire George Soros which is accused by Iran of seeking a "Velvet Revolution" in Iran similar to the ousting of communism in eastern Europe.

Journalist Azima, who worked for the U.S. funded Radio Farda, was detained but released and barred from leaving the country.

All three have dual U.S.- Iranian citizenship.

U.S. media and the New York-based Human Rights Watch have reported that a fourth U.S.-Iranian, Ali Shakeri, has been detained in Iran in recent weeks.

Jamshidi today insisted Shakeri was "not detained," but he gave no further details about him. U.S. officials also think

Tehran may be holding former FBI official Robert Levinson, who went missing early in March while on a visit to the Iranian island of Kish. Iran has denied this.

From Iran Focus & Global Security.Org

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