Release Kian Tajbakhsh!

Those who love him are pained to see him used as a pawn in a power struggle


Release Kian Tajbakhsh!
by Niloofar Mina

Pictures and video footage of Tuesday’s show trials in Tehran show Kian Tajbakhsh among a group of defendants associated with Iran’s reformist movement and accused of conspiracy to foment a “velvet revolution” in Iran.  The pictures show Kian seated directly behind Said Hajjarian, a reformist ideologue and a principal defendant in Tuesday’s trial.  The coupling of Kian, a secular Iranian-American academic, with the leaders of the Islamist reform movement of Iran is alarming. Dressed in blue prison pajamas and brown plastic slippers Kian looks thin and depressed. His vacant gaze and apparent disorientation captured in the video clippings broadcast by Iran’s official news agency makes reading the trial transcripts devastatingly sad. 

Kian Tajbakhsh has not been allowed to consult with an attorney of his choice.  The collective indictment presented on Tuesday Aug. 25 is devoid of credible evidence against Kian. Instead, "confessions" of the defendants against themselves and their co-defendants are offered. The tortured and terrorized faces of the defendants leave no doubt about the horrific conditions under which the “confessions” have been obtained.  So far, the public presentations of the tortured confessions have provoked disgust and anger in Iran. Clearly, the Iranian public does not believe these so called confessions.  Even some of Iran’s high-ranking clerics with close ties to the ruling circles have condemned these confessions. So why does the government insists on parading the tortured bodies and souls of the accused?

The text of the collective indictment contains half a dozen sentences directly related to Kian Tajbakhsh. In those statements he is accused of having been raised outside Iran and is blamed for his parentage, his limited knowledge of Iran’s dominant religious practices, and for an unsubstantiated report of his having discussed a book with Hajjarian. The strongest accusations appear in a separate indictment directed at Kian alone in which he is charged with espionage. The personal indictment accuses Kian of membership in a listserv that is run by Gary Sick of Columbia University. The indictment goes on to identify Sick as a CIA agent. Kian is also accused of being a consultant for the Soros Foundation in Iran.  The indictment goes on to characterize the Soros Foundation as a satellite institution of CIA that is devoted to instigation of “velvet revolutions” in Iran and around the world.

Clearly, there is no evidence that connects Kian Tajbakhsh with the serious charges of espionage and conspiracy to create a “velvet revolution” in Iran because Kian has never been involved in such activities.  Kian is an American citizen of Iranian heritage. He is a secular intellectual, a sociologist and an independent scholar. He is not attached to any political organization or movement inside and outside the country. His accusers know this.  The US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has repeatedly demanded Kian’s release and has publicly denounced the false accusations leveled against him.   Yet as the post election crisis in Iran grows and the political rift within the Islamic Republic’s leadership deepens, the role his accusers have assigned to Kian in this diabolic scenario grows as well.

Kian's friends are worried about his physical and emotional health and want to see him released immediately. Kian is a beloved son, father, husband, teacher, colleague and friend.  Those who love him are pained to see him used as a pawn in a power struggle with which he has no connection. We want to see Kian free to leave Iran so that he can continue his life and academic career in safety.


* Video clip of Tuesday's Trial.
* Text of the collective indictment (in Persian)
* Text of the indictment against Kian Tajbakhsh (in Persian).
* Pictures: (1) (2)





 این حکومت نخواد توانست مدتی‌ چند دوام داشته باشد
ضربهٔ اقتصادی از این تشنتجات ، فرار سرمایه از کشور ، کار شکنی بوسیلهٔ مردم در امور کشور ، برنامهیه زیر زمینی‌ از قبیله ترور رنه ر اهبرن کودتا ، تحریم اقتصادی، و غیره ، تمام نشان دهندهٔ این است که در ظرف یک سال آینده تحولی اساسی‌ در ایران به وجود خواهد پیوست.  

رهبران کودتا هنوز متوجه به عواقب کار خویش نیستند

تنها خطر برای ایران این است که کشورهای خارجی‌، از جمله آمریکا، اروپا، چین و شوروی با هم به توافقی برای چپاول ایران برساند و مثلا ایران را به شوروی و چین داده و در ازیه عراق و افغانستان .  

حتا در آن‌ مورد جریانی که شروع شده به ثمر خواهد رسید، ولی‌ با زمانی‌ بیشتر.


I agree Sima

by Monda on

I have watched the trials without sound, just to feel closer to the terror that results in those de-personalized images like Kian's. 

Thank you Niloofar for writing this important blog. 



by benross on

I didn't quite grasp the differentiation between Kian Tajbakhsh and Said Hajjarian. If the 'velvet revolution' is on trial, what is the difference? They should all be released. I know you agree on this. But can you expand on this differentiation?


just wondering

by shushtari on

where the hell is carter to come and cry out for human rights like he did in 77-78????!!

he's probably sitting in a hole in hiding, knowing that he is the biggest moron on earth for being the single most important reason, other than british thirst for our oil, for the ushering in of the worst plague to infest the earth- islamofascim and khomeini!

now is this justice that you see in such sham courts like this one???!

is iran better of now than in 1978???


the only ones better off are rafsanjani and a bunch of other bache akhoonds who have stolen billions and stashed them away in swiss....and the british, french, russian, and chinese bloodsuckers who have drained iran of it's precious resources at dirt cheap prices, which no one dares ask- unlike when the shah was in power, where every penny of oil sales was accounted for 

Iranian Reader

دیوانگی محض

Iranian Reader

آدم سرش سوت میکشد. شاید هم هدف همین است -- که ما هم مثل این بنده های خدا در شوک محض خفه شویم.


Is this insanity?

by sima on

Of course no one believes this. This much is certain. Perhaps there's not even much method behind the madness anymore. This is the flailing of a drowning body. It is a kind of impotence. And it is sickening what price Kian and others are paying for it.

You know, the best way to watch the films of these trials is to turn the sound off and just watch people's facial expressions and body language. No one is saying what they're really thinking: not the defendents, not their defense, not the security guys sitting next to the accused, not the journalists, not even the prosecutor it seems. Total, utter silence. But very very expressive silence. 

Maryam Hojjat


by Maryam Hojjat on

for posting. I enjoyed it.

Payandeh Iran & Iranians & Iran's lover 


Haleh Esfandiari's Interview with Diane Tucker

by vildemose on


Iranian women once enjoyed so much more freedom than they do today, it's no wonder they poured into the streets to protest the election results. But weren't these women taking a huge risk?

When the Islamic Revolution took place 30 years ago, the new government suspended the Family Protection Law -- the pillar of women's rights. This law covered the age of marriage, the right to seek a divorce, the right to work, and so on. When it was suspended, men once again could take as many wives as they wanted, could take away the children in case of divorce, could stop women from leaving the house. At that moment -- the moment their rights were taken away -- Iranian women started protesting, and they have been a major force ever since. The movement culminated three years ago with the launch of the One Million Signatures Campaign. Some of the campaigners had been jailed, but not deterred.

More than 100 post-election protesters have been arrested for plotting to overthrow the regime -- the same bogus charge you faced. In your case, a tsunami of high-level international support hastened your release. Without global intervention, what will happen to these jailed demonstrators?

I'm very worried about them. I'm especially concerned about Kian Tajbakhsh, the Iranian-American who was in jail with me two years ago. Kian was freed a month after I was, but he opted to stay in Iran. For some reason the authorities have decided to go after him again. As far as I know, Kian has kept a low profile. They must be rehashing old charges, which is a worrisome development.

A number of the more than 100 people who are being put on trial are elite members of the Islamic Republic. They don't want to overthrow the regime, only to open up the system. I hope there will be serious international condemnation of this show trial. I hope the European Union will protest as a bloc.

Many Iranian expatriates would love to speak out against the mass trial, but they're afraid of endangering family and friends back home.



Thank you for the article and video clip!

by yolanda on

IRI is really obsessed with CIA and velvet revolution! So many people are accused of espionage: Roxanna Saberi, Kian Tajbakhsh, and the 24 year old French scholar. It is sad!