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Iran Confirms Arrest Of Top Scholar --> Ramin Jahanbegloo (undated file photo) (Fars) May 3, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Iran today confirmed the arrest of Ramin Jahanbegloo, a noted scholar, philosopher, and the author of several books.

The head of Tehran's prison organization, Sohrab Soleimani, is quoted by Fars News Agency as saying that Jahanbegloo was arrested on May 2 and is currently detained in Tehran's notorious Evin prison.

He did not provide details about the reasons of his arrest.

Another official who did not want to be named has told Fars that Jahanbegloo was arrested for security reasons and on espionage charges.

Several Iranian websites had reported that Jahanbegloo was arrested in late April.

Jahanbegloo, who is head of the department for contemporary studies at Iran's Cultural Research Bureau, was reportedly arrested in Tehran airport after returning from a trip to India.

Rights Group Objects

The U.S.-based rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) today condemned Jahanbegloo's arrest.

In an interview with RFE/RL, HRW spokesman Hadi Ghaemi said from New York that the detention is a bad sign for academic freedoms in Iran.

"We are seriously worried about the situation and conditions of Dr. Ramin Jahanbegloo," Ghaemi said. "According to reports, Dr. Jahanbegloo was arrested on [April 28 or April 29] in Tehran's airport without any legal reason or explanation."

Jahanbegloo is a Canadian-Iranian who was educated at the Sorbonne in Paris and at Harvard University. He has published several books on subjects such as the liberal political philosopher Isaiah Berlin and modernity in Iran.

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