Imperial alumnus and respected academic Dr Kian Tajbakhsh has been shown on Iranian TV, two months after his arrest in Iran. Tajbakhsh and Haleh Esfandiari have been held since May on charges of endangering national security, with their arrest provoking an outcry from human rights groups.
Imperial College released the following statement in a press release earlier today:
"Imperial joins the international community in calling on the Iranian government to allow Dr Tajbakhsh legal representation and to provide evidence of the accusations against him."
Tajbakhsh graduated from Imperial in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, before taking an MSc at UCL. He has a PhD in Urban Planning and Policy from Columbia University and is an urban planning consultant with George Soros' Open Society Institute. In the video clip he is seen reading from a piece of paper: "The role of the Soros foundation might have been targeting the world of Islam".
The government in Iran has been clamping down on academic freedoms since conservative president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took power, with academics now facing arrest if they attend conferences in the west. Western academics visiting Iran have also found themselves under suspicion of spying, making the country an academic no-go zone for many.