Iranian economist and business consultant Bijan Khajehpour was freed on bail late on Wednesday after three months in Evin prison, according to his wife. His arrest along with hundreds of intellectuals, journalists and student activists in the aftermath of a disputed presidential election in June sparked international protests.
President Obama and the leaders of France and Britain have deliberately raised the stakes in the confrontation over Iran’s nuclear programme by dramatising the disclosure that it is building a second uranium enrichment plant. Their shoulder-to-shoulder statements of resolve, less than a week before Iran opens talks with six major powers in Geneva, raised more questions than they answer.
The announcement that the major powers, including the United States, are going to open talks with Iran on Oct. 1 ought to be a source of rejoicing. After all, isn’t this what much of the world has been urging for several years, while the European Union conducted a frustrating, low-key dialogue like the warm-up band at a rock concert?
A couple of weeks ago, I drew attention to the arrest of respected business consultant Bijan Khajehpour as an example of the situation of hundreds of Iranians detained after the disputed presidential election on June 12. At the time, Bijan’s whereabouts, state of health and conditions, as well as any charges against him, were unknown.
On June 27, Iranian business consultant Bijan Khajehpour landed at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport on a flight from London. His driver saw him in the arrival lounge. Bijan was paged over the loudspeaker and taken away by security men. He has not been seen for more than a month. He has had no access to lawyers. His wife and two young daughters do not know who is holding him, where or why. He is a diabetic and his family fears for his health.