OSI Responds to Charges Against Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh

NEW YORK—The Open Society Institute is dismayed by the charges announced today in Iran against Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh, an internationally respected scholar who is an American citizen.

These charges are completely without merit.

Dr. Tajbakhsh’s work for the Open Society Institute (OSI) has focused on public health, humanitarian relief, culture, and local government. Where possible, OSI has sought to foster improved understanding between Iran and other countries.

In the aftermath of the earthquake in Bam, the Iranian authorities requested assistance from OSI in aiding victims and rebuilding communities in that devastated city. Iranian officials also sought OSI’s expertise in the area of public health. Dr. Tajbakhsh worked on these humanitarian efforts.

None of OSI’s Iran activities have been funded or initiated by the U.S. government.

Before his arrest in Tehran on May 11, Dr. Tajbakhsh also worked for a European urban planning group, the Association of Netherlands Municipalities, and had been a consultant for the World Bank.

In addition, Dr. Tajbakhsh has served as an expert for several Iranian government organizations, including the Municipalities Organization, the Social Security Organization, and the Ministry of the Interior. He has also taught urban sociology at Allameh University in Tehran.

A dual Iranian-American national, Dr. Tajbakhsh is a distinguished expert on urban planning who has chosen to devote his life to public service.

He is being held in the notorious Evin prison without access to a lawyer.

We urge the Iranian authorities to release Dr. Tajbakhsh immediately.