[JURIST] Iran confirmed for the first time that it is detaining Iranian-American peace activist Ali Shakeri [advoacy website], the Iranian Students News Agency [media website] reported Friday. Shakeri, a founding member of the University of California, Irvine, Center for Citizen Peacebuilding [advocacy website], is the fourth dual US citizen Iran has detained in recent months. Sources say he planned to leave Iran for Europe on May 13, but was detained by security forces and investigated by the security department of the Tehran prosecutor's office.
Last week, US President George W. Bush strongly condemned [JURIST report] Iran's detention of Shakeri and three other Iran-Americans, including Dr. Haleh Esfandiari [WWC profile], Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh [OSI press release], and Radio Farda [media website] correspondent Parnaz Azima. In a statement [text], Bush also said he was "disturbed by the Iranian regime's refusal" to provide information concerning Robert Levinson [advocacy website], a former FBI agent who disappeared in March while visiting Iran [JURIST news archive]. Also last week, Iran formally charged Tajbakhsh and Azima [JURIST report] for conspiring against the government. Last Monday, Iran formally charged Esfandiari [JURIST report], director of the Middle East Program at the DC-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars [think tank website], with plotting to overthrow the Iranian government by organizing a network "against the sovereignty of the country." AP has more.