printable banner

U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Middle East Digest - August 4, 2009


Other Releases
Washington, DC
August 4, 2009

Share

The Middle East Digest provides text and audio from the Daily Press Briefing. For the full briefings, please visit daily press briefings.

From the Daily Press Briefing of August 4, 2009

View Video

MR. WOOD: I’d like to give you an update on this detained Iranian American scholar, Kian Tajbakhsh. We are deeply concerned of reports that Iranian American scholar Kian Tajbakhsh was recently charged by an Iranian court without the benefit of a lawyer. Given that the charges facing Mr. Tajbakhsh are without foundation, we call on Iran’s leadership to release Mr. Tajbakhsh without delay. He has played absolutely no role in the election and poses no threat to the Iranian Government or its national security. As an independent academic, Mr. Tajbakhsh has always sought out political neutrality.

The right to due process in Iran, which includes the right to legal representation, is not only addressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which Iran is a signatory, it is also ratified in its own constitution. So the world is watching what is happening in Iran and will bear witness.

And with those, I’m ready to take your questions.

QUESTION: Also on Iran --

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. WOOD: They’re working on it. Did you all get what I said there recently?

QUESTION: Now, you’re going to put that out, aren’t you?

MR. WOOD: We can if you like.

QUESTION: Yeah, just mostly for the spelling of the name.

MR. WOOD: Yeah, absolutely.

QUESTION: Three Americans, backpackers probably, detained in Iran with insinuations that there may be espionage involved. Do you have any response to their being held, and what at least one lawmaker is suggesting, spying?

MR. WOOD: Well, I’ve heard nothing about any charges of them being spies. I know there are reports out there. I don’t think those are credible at all. We’ve seen reports by the deputy governor of Kurdistan for political security affairs, and are awaiting for official confirmation from the Government of Iran following our request through the Swiss ambassador.

As I think you all are aware, on August 2nd the Swiss ambassador had a meeting at the ministry of foreign affairs but could not get confirmation that these Americans were being detained. And so we’re trying, as I said, to still get that confirmation. We do not have it as yet.

QUESTION: When did you say he saw them?

MR. WOOD: August 2nd.

QUESTION: August 2nd. So this has been going on a while. I didn’t realize that. Anything – he asked?

MR. WOOD: Yes. He asked, and the officials at the time, were not aware of the fact --

QUESTION: Oh, or said they weren’t.

MR. WOOD: Yeah. They had no information on these individuals but were going to try to get that information. So – but we don’t have it, as I said, as yet.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Why is it taking so long? Two days have gone by --

MR. WOOD: Well, I can’t give you an answer to that. I mean, the Swiss ambassador is trying to ascertain the information and location of these individuals but hasn’t been able to do so. But he’s going to continue to push to try to get that information for us.

QUESTION: Has the Swiss ambassador tried to go back in again today, or has he tried to reschedule another meeting?

MR. WOOD: I think they’re working on trying to do that. But I don’t think anything has been scheduled at this point.

QUESTION: The ambassador’s a woman, I think. Isn’t it Livia --

MR. WOOD: It could very well be. And I apologize for that.

QUESTION: I’m just checking because I’m trying to determine who it is.

MR. WOOD: Yeah. Let me see if I’ve got a name for you.

QUESTION: Livia?

MR. WOOD: I don’t have a name here for you, but we can get you that.

QUESTION: Staying with Iran, I was wondering whether you could confirm that the Administration had received a response from the Iranian supreme leader to the letter that the Administration had sent to Iran before the elections about the offer for engagement.

MR. WOOD: I don’t have anything for you on that, sorry.

QUESTION: Could we take the question?

MR. WOOD: I’ll see if I can get anything for you on that, but I don’t have anything.

Yes, Kim.

QUESTION: Staying with Iran, I was wondering whether you could confirm that the Administration had received a response from the Iranian supreme leader to the letter that the Administration had sent to Iran before the elections about the offer for engagement.

MR. WOOD: I don’t have anything for you on that, sorry.

QUESTION: Could we take the question?

MR. WOOD: I’ll see if I can get anything for you on that, but I don’t have anything.

QUESTION: Staying with Iran, I was wondering whether you could confirm that the Administration had received a response from the Iranian supreme leader to the letter that the Administration had sent to Iran before the elections about the offer for engagement.

MR. WOOD: I don’t have anything for you on that, sorry.

QUESTION: Could we take the question?

MR. WOOD: I’ll see if I can get anything for you on that, but I don’t have anything.



Back to Top
Sign-in

Do you already have an account on one of these sites? Click the logo to sign in and create your own customized State Department page. Want to learn more? Check out our FAQ!

OpenID is a service that allows you to sign in to many different websites using a single identity. Find out more about OpenID and how to get an OpenID-enabled account.