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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Canadian-Iranian dissident accused of being U.S. agent released in Iran

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran on Wednesday released Canadian-Iranian liberal intellectual Ramin Jahanbegloo, who was accused of working with the U.S. to overthrow the government, a human rights activist said.

Ramin Jahanbegloo was released from Evin prison after four months of confinement, said Kouhyar Goodarzi, a member of the Student Committee of Human Rights Reporters of Iran.

Jahanbegloo was arrested in April but was not officially charged, and Intelligence Minister Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi said in July that he was involved in U.S. efforts to overthrow the government.

Azin Moalej, Jahanbegloo's wife, also confirmed that her husband was released on bail, but refused to provide details.

In May, the state-controlled IRAN Persian daily newspaper said that Jahanbegloo, who worked for the private Cultural Research Bureau in Tehran, had been arrested for espionage and violating security measures.

Jahanbegloo, 46, studied at the Sorbonne University in Paris and Harvard University.

From 1997 to 2001, he taught at the University of Toronto.

He has published some 20 books in English, French and Farsi and interviewed several global figures such as the Dalai Lama and famed linguist Noam Chomsky.

During his time in jail, many local and international scholars, including Chomsky, urged the government to release him.

In July, Ejehi said his ministry's counterespionage department had thwarted several plots in the past 10 months, alleging that Washington trained, supported and organized people to challenge Iran's Islamic system of government.

Three years ago, Iranian-Canadian photographer Zahra Kazemi was also accused of spying after taking photos outside the same prison where Jahanbegloo was held.

She died from head injuries sustained while being interrogated. Canadian government demands for justice were ignored.
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