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4th Iranian-American Citizen Detained in Iran


For the fourth time in recent months, Iran has detained someone holding dual U.S. and Iranian citizenship.

The New York City-based Open Society Institute says Iran imprisoned Kian Tajbakhsh around May 11. The institute Wednesday called for his immediate release.

Tajbakhsh, a Tehran-based social scientist and urban planner, is a consultant affiliated with the institute, which was established by billionaire businessman George Soros to promote democracy and human rights.

On May 8, Iran imprisoned scholar Haleh Esfandiari, who also has dual U.S.-Iranian citizenship. Esfandiari is affiliated with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a Washington-based foundation.

On Monday, Iran claimed Esfandiari admitted under interrogation she was trying to establish an unofficial network to topple the Iranian government. The Wilson Center's director, former U.S. Congressman Lee Hamilton denied that.

Iran also implicated George Soros's foundation in the alleged network to topple the Tehran government.

The U.S. State Department called Iran's accusations regarding Esfandiari "absurd."

Iran has also detained two other Iranian-American women, including Parnaz Azima, a correspondent for U.S.-funded Persian language broadcaster Radio Farda. She has been prevented from leaving Iran since January. Esfandiari and Azima were in Iran to visit their mothers.

The identity of the other woman has not been revealed at the request of her family.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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