These are some of the comments people have sent to the Free Kian Campaign via the petition form or by email. We will continue to update this page every few days with the stories and comments about Kian that you have shared.
I have known Kian over the last two decades in many roles: as an advocate and organizer for low-income housing when he first came to live in New York City in the mid 1980s; as a graduate student at Columbia University; as an urban planner and professor at the New School for Social Research.
Kian has always criticized, and often protested, the attempts of various U.S. administrations to intervene in the affairs of other nations, whether militarily or by other means. He has consistently upheld the right of nations to self-determination. As a scholar and international consultant, he has been exploring how this right can be exercised in current conditions.
It is of course simply unimaginable that Kian would ever be involved in any attempt to spy on or overthrow the government of Iran, the home country that he loves, or would ever associate himself with any entity which was attempting to do that.
-Juliet Ucelli, Educators Against the War
I knew Kian as a young man in London; he spent his childhood in exile in the UK, yeaning for his country. He was a strong patriot with a deep love of his country even then. He is a good person who only wants the best for his country and its people. Please free this man and show the world that you a government of integrity.
-Sarah Campos-Martyn, UK
I received with shock and dismay the news of Kian’s arrest, then the news of the atrocious charges pressed against him. It is my belief that Kian has always sought to serve the interests of Iranian citizens and to help Iranian government authorities and departments develop their systems through providing them with advice and knowledge. Kian has used his affiliations with international organizations such as the World Bank and the Open Society Institute to fulfill these goals. It is sad that he should be so cruelly punished for such noble intentions. Arresting Kian does nothing for Iran but tarnish its reputation at a time when it should be working very hard to improve its international image and harness support. I call upon all who have access to the Iranian government, inside and outside Iran, to put pressure on the relevant authorities to immediately release Kian Tajbakhsh and drop all charges against him.
-Basma El Husseiny, Egypt
Kian is known to me as committed academic and development professional. His detention is portraying a negative image of the Iranian Govt. as a regime against progressive reforms and prosperity for the Iranian people. On behalf of a wider academic and development community across the world, we appeal for his immediate release and at least a fair opportunity to explain his position and access to legal defence.
-Mukhtar Aziz Kansi, UNICEF, Pakistan
Kian was my flatmate when we were students at Columbia. He was erudite, humourous and deeply concerned about Iran. I am outraged at his arrest.
-Nandini Sundar, Delhi University, India
Kian Tajbakhsh is a scholar, man of letters, musician and a peace-loving human being. To arrest and imprison such a man is a condemnable act. He must be released immediately to return home to his family — to his wife who will be delivering their child very soon.
-Bina Sarkar Ellias, Editor/Publisher, Gallerie magazine, India
I have known Kian since he was a student. These charges are completely ungrounded.
-Saskia Sassen, Ralph Lewis Professor of Sociology, University of Chicago, USA
By detaining peace-loving scholars like Kian and Haleh, the Iranian government is making things more difficult for those who wish Iran well.
-Beena Sarwar, journalist, Pakistan
As an academician who met Kian at an international conference, I am dismayed to hear of his arrest. I believe he is a scholar of the highest calibre who is committed to social science research in Iran. I hope that he will be released and able to continue his research projects.
-Leyla Neyzi, Sabanci University, Turkey
Hard to imagine such allegations can be made against such a dedicated person, such a thorough gentleman. A great tragedy for his family at a time when he is needed most urgently at his home.
-Sharda Mathur, India
I knew Kian back in the 1980s when we were both working in India. It is disheartening to me that his unjust incarceration is the means by which I have reconnected with him. I have always known Kian as a fiercely independent and intellectually curious individual — characteristics that many governments, unfortunately, find threatening. I urge the Iranian government to release him promptly. His incarceration, and that of many others, is a disgrace to the values and interests of the Iranian people, and those that the Iranian government professes to follow.
-Ronald Slye, Seattle University School of Law, USA
This man is a scholar, not a spy. Please free him! He has done nothing wrong but only works to build peace between our two countries.
-Stephanie Low, USA
Kian is a great man of peace and understanding between cultures. He should be able to continue his work. Free him now.
-Wiktor Janusz Osiatynski, Hungary and Poland
Kian is a respected colleague and urban scholar whose imprisonment is unjustified and harmful to Iran’s reputation abroad. He must be released immediately.
-Simon Parker, University of York, UK
Kian is a co-author, a colleague from my years at the New School, a fellow urban scholar of the developing world, and a man whom I know to be committed to the Iranian people and to promoting scholarly inquiry. I lament this terrible situation and urge his immediate release.
-Diane Davis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
It is long overdue that the good citizens of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States began to educate our leaders and elevate the esteem of our nations by mending old wounds and coming together in a spirit of mutual respect and peaceful dialogue. There is no better place to begin this task than by together calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh, someone who shares those very ideals and believed in them enough to apply himself to their realization.
-Lloyd Vivola, USA
I personally met Kian in Aug 2006, and I strongly feel he’s a valuable person for Iran’s social and political development.
-Stefano Pasquale, Italy
Kian is a mild, scholarly man with humanitarian views. Under no circumstance would he be involved in any form of insurrection. He is a credit to his nation and should be released immediately.
-Lingard Goulding, Ireland
I met Kian about 30 years ago because our mothers met in NYC during their graduate studies in social work. Both of our families have dedicated their lives to trying to make a positive impact on society. Kian is an asset to both Iran and the US and a person who should be leveraged for good not political brinksmanship.
-Paul Herdman, Rodel Foundation, USA
Kian has always had a love of Iran and has dedicated the past few years of his life to serving his country. This is an injustice to him personally, his family and the country he has so faithfully served, Iran.
-Katayoon Tajbakhsh Precht, USA
Kian Tajbakhsh is a gentle, intelligent young man with love for his country and its rich civilization. My prayers are that such a brilliant mind does not go to waste behind bars for much longer.
-Sherry Tajbakhsh, USA
Kian is a wonderful man, a man of warmth and humour and affection, a man who relishes his family and friends and his home, Iran.
-Dermot Dix, Headfort School, Ireland
It is high time Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh is freed. Enough of this injustice against an innocent fellow.
-Abiodun Folawewo, University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica
Kian is one of the brightest children of the Iranian diaspora that I have met since 1979.
-Jamshid Anvar, Iran/USA
Our thoughts are with all of you; this is the worst possible time for him to be separated from the family.
-Chandana Mathur, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Ireland/India
Kian Tajbakhsh is a serious scholar and an engaged free thinking intellectual. Arresting people like him is no sign of democracy.
-Rada Ivekovic, France
Please release this esteemed scholar; his detention does great harm to Iran.
-John Waters, New York University, USA
Kian is a good man. He does not deserve to be treated like this.
-Anna Moore, UK
The arbitrary detention of any citizen is a crime, but the arbitrary detention of a scholar working for the good of his country hurts us all.
-Leslie Pal, Carleton University, Canada
Kian is a brilliant scholar and dear friend to all of us. His extraordinary public service and scholarly contributions deserve to be treated as national treasures.
-Pamela Kilpadi, Hungary
Kian Tajbakhsh is a well-respected scholar and public intellectual. It is a disgrace for the Iranian government to have detained this fine scholar. He should be released immediately.
-Ayse Gul Altinay, Sabanci University, Turkey
This is an outrage. This wonderful man, who cares DEEPLY about Iran, should be freed.
-Karen Misencik, USA
I know Kian and I know he is a staunch supporter of the Iranian people.
-Elliott Sclar, Columbia University, USA
We urgently ask the Iranian government to release Dr. Tajbakhsh and ensure his safe return to his family.
-Taraneh Mamhoudi, Iran
Kian was my student at Columbia. He has a strong academic record, and is widely respected internationally. It will help Iran’s standing internationally if it frees him promptly.
-Peter Marcuse, Columbia University, USA
Please release Kian Tajbakhsh. He is a gentle person, an intelligent man whose talents are wasted in prison.
-Colleen McGuire, National Lawyers Guild, USA
Iran has always been a cradle of civilization. It’s time the current regime in Tehran understands civilization also mean freedom! Please free Kian.
-Pervaiz Alam, India-EU Film Initiative, India
I urge that Kian be released immediately. He is a valuable resource to Iran and should be treated with respect and honor and allowed to teach Iranian students of urban planning.
-Rachel Bratt, Tufts University, USA
Dr. Tajbakshsh is an eminent scholar and a fine person.
-Susan Fainstein, Harvard University, USA
We urgently request the release of Dr. Tajbakhsh and ensure his safe return to his family.
-Syed Ali, International Policy Fellow, Pakistan
Kian Tajbakhsh’s release is essential not only to the preservation of the principles of intellectual freedom. His detainment also detains progress in economic and social development where it is most needed.
-Laurie Goldman, Tufts University, USA
There is no justification for incarcerating Dr. Kian Tabakhsh who is an outstanding scholar, planner, and humanist. Please do not diminish the standing of the great civilized country that Iran is by letting such injustice on on. Free Kian Tabakhsh!
-Luc Nadal, Columbia University, France
Kian is a wonderful person and a well reputed scholar. In my discussions with him, I found in him a deeply patriotic Iranian, although he had differences with the regime. His detension, without any charge, is highly condemnable. He must be released immediately.
-Mukhtar Ali, Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives, Pakistan
Kian Tajbakhsh is a respected scholar and decent human being who loves his country. He must be freed immediately!
-Valentine Moghadam, Purdue University, USA
I call for the immediate release of Dr. Kian.
-Sebastian Sanga, International Policy Fellow, Tanzania
Dr. Kian is not an Iranian alone; a person of his wisdom, stature and personality belongs to the world. The Iranian government should show that they are a real Muslim state by respecting scholars, which are revered in Islam.
-Fauzia Yazdani, International Policy Fellow, Pakistan.
Free Dr Tajbakhsh! His work is so valuable to Iran!
-Elizabeth Mueller, University of Texas, USA
I have known Kian for twenty-five years. These accusations against him ignore his passion for justice, devotion to democracy, and love for his native country. Having lived abroad for many years, he made the very arduous decision to return home so that he could use his considerable talents on behalf of the civilization and people with whom he feels at one. He must be released at once so he can go on with his vital work and return to his wife, who is due to give birth later this year.
-Muriel Dimen, New York University, USA
As former Dean at the New School where Kian was Assistant Professor, I am very concerned that he has been detained and urge his immediate release.
-Jack Krauskopf, City University of New York, USA
Kian is an outstanding scholar whose work helps to reveal assumptions in the West often unstated. It is tragic that he has been detained.
-Jonathan Diskin, Earlham College, USA
I met Kian once and was instantly impressed with his dignity and decency. He is not only one who takes his work, to better others’ lives, seriously. He also misses no opportunity to engage acquaintances and friends, to make them feel worthy.
-Peter Pullman, USA
I know Kian well. He is a person of great integrity. It is an outrage that he is now detained.
-Philip Thompson, MIT, USA
Kian was my colleague at the New School and a contributor to Social Research which I edit. I know him to be a serious scholar and researcher whose devotion to Iran led him to return to work and contribute to the intellectual life of the country. It is an outrage that this country he loves so much has imprisoned him without cause.
-Arien Mack, The New School, USA
We all really hope that Kian, a kind and gentle human being is released soon and that he can be with his family at this time.
I have always been impressed by Iran’s forward thinking when dealing with harm reduction among injection drug users, for example. It would be a great shame to punish someone who has done great work in this area and whose work has aways been for the betterment of the Iranian people. Iran is a great nation, with a proud history that attracts much respect. It is my hope that Iran will not diminish the respect it has earned over the years with this disappointing detention. Please release Dr; Tajbakhsh and ensure his safe return to his family.
-Kamal Fizazi, Morocco
Kian is a respected scholar and mentor . Please release him.
-Robert Smith, City University of New York, USA
Working for peaceful solutions to very volatile problems can cause consternation and arouse fear. Only the bravest will have the courage to look at the roots of the essence of the contributions of Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh and grant him his release from Evin Prison. I am appealing to the brave and courageous Iranians who will reflect and acknowledge a mistake has been made and ask your government to allow Dr. Tajbakhsh to return to his family.
-Mary Morgan, Canada
Kian is a close friend and colleague.
-Ahmad Rashid, Journalist, Pakistan
Kian is someone who I am proud to say is my friend. I pray for his speedy return to his family.
-Sudha Menon, India
To continue to detain Kian is to detain good conscience and equity and social justice. Humanity progresses with people like Kian actively contributing to it and not locked up.
-Chinwe Onyeukwu, Nigeria
I was at school with Kian and knew him to be an exuberant, highly intelligent, engaged and committed thinker who valued truth and freedom very highly, His inprisonment is a slur against both these values.
-Richard Pleming, UK
I met Kian in 2004 when I visited Iran with VNG_International. He is a wonderful man with a great vision for his beloverd country. I wish him freedom.
-Koos Karssen, Mayor of Maassluis, the Netherlands
I had the privilege to speak to Kian Tajbakhsh two years ago. I contacted him for helping me in a research project the Human Rights Commission conducted. The warmth of his voice and his kind acceptance of supporting us in compilation of the final finding of the study still echo in my ears. It made me deeply saddened hearing he is arrested on no basis. I am joining with hundreds of other Afghans to call up on the Iranian government for immediate release of Kian Tajbakhsh.
-Nader Nadery, Commissioner
Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission