Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

American scholar charged with heading ‘soft revolution’ in Iran

On Monday in Tehran, Haleh Esfandiari was charged with seeking to topple the Iranian government, the Washington Post reports. Esfandiari, an Iranian-American and scholar at the Washington’s Woodrow Wilson International Center, was suspected of creating a network that sought to work “against the sovereignty of Iran,” Iranian state television reported.

The charges come at a pivotal moment in U.S.-Iran relations as Monday marked the scheduled start date for bilateral talks concerning the strategy in Iraq. Despite the tension stemming from the detainment of Esfandiari, the Iranian foreign ministry’s think tank, Institute for Political and International Studies, officially sponsors exchanges between U.S. and Iranian scholars.

The Wilson Center has repeatedly denied any link between Esfandiari and sponsored attempts at toppling the Iranian government. “Haleh was not engaged in any activities to undermine any government, including the Iranian government. Nor does the Wilson Center engage in such activities. . . . There is not one scintilla of evidence to support these outrageous claims,” Wilson Center director Lee H. Hamilton remarked concerning the accusations of conspiring against the state.

Although a network of Iranian experts was being created, according to the Wilson Center, it was for the sole purpose of bringing experts to conferences and other organizational events. It should be noted that no formal charges have been handed down from the judiciary in Iran, a possible signal that the accusations could eventually be dismissed.

For the full article, click here.


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