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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 September 2007, 09:51 GMT 10:51 UK
Iran frees US-Iranian from prison
Kian Tajbakhsh
Kian Tajbakhsh was interviewed by Iranian state TV while in detention
Authorities in Iran have released a second Iranian-American academic who had been detained in Tehran since May.

Kian Tajbakhsh, a planning consultant at the Soros Foundation's Open Society Institute, was freed from Evin prison on bail for around $100,000 (50,000).

Mr Tajbakhsh had been accused by the Iranian government of spying and trying to help organise a "velvet revolution".

The academic's release comes only days ahead of a visit by Iran's president to the UN General Assembly in New York.

Tensions between the international community and Iran are high amid claims Tehran is arming militants in Iraq and seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

Iranian fears

The Iranian judiciary said Mr Tajbakhsh had been released from prison on bail late on Wednesday evening.

Afterwards, a spokeswoman for the Open Society Institute said he had returned to his home in Tehran.

We're delighted that Kian Tajbakhsh is reunited with his family
Laura Silber
Open Society Institute

"We're delighted that Kian Tajbakhsh is reunited with his family," Laura Silber told the Reuters news agency.

Last week, Mr Tajbakhsh told reporters visiting Evin prison that he had been well treated and that he had not yet been formally charged.

He was one of four Iranian-Americans detained by Iranian authorities in May on charges of spying, propaganda and endangering national security. In August, Haleh Esfandiari, also an academic, and Parnaz Azima were also released and allowed to leave Iran. Another man, Ali Shakeri, is still being detained.

Mr Shakeri, a businessman and peace activist from California, was arrested by Iranian security forces as he was boarding a flight home.

Human rights activists believe Mr Tajbakhsh's release is part of a campaign by Iran to send a warning to intellectuals based in the country, particularly visiting Iranian-Americans, says the BBC's Jon Leyne in Tehran.

But the Iranian government also seems to have a genuine fear the US is trying to encourage a "people power" revolution after Washington allocated tens of millions of dollars to pro-democracy activists in Iran, our correspondent says.


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