TEHRAN — Iran has temporarily released an Iranian-American scholar serving prison time on an espionage conviction so he can spend the Iranian New Year holiday with his family, officials said yesterday.
Kian Tajbakhsh, who was a social scientist and urban planner in New York, was the only American detained in the crackdown that crushed giant street protests by hundreds of thousands of people after June’s disputed presidential election.
Iran traditionally releases some prisoners during the New Year holiday. Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi said Tajbakhsh was released Saturday on $800,000 bail for 15 days, the semiofficial ISNA news agency reported. The terms of the release do not allow him to leave the country.
Tajbakhsh was arrested in July and brought to trial with more than 100 people, most of them opposition activists and protesters accused of seeking to topple the government.
Rights groups criticized the proceedings as a show trial and said televised courtroom confessions were probably coerced.
Tajbakhsh, who was in Iran to work on a book, was convicted of spying and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Last month an appeals court reduced his sentence to five years.
His family says he is innocent of any crime.
US officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, have repeatedly called for the scholar’s release.