Esfandiari is an academic at the U.S.-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Tajbakhsh is a consultant with the Soros Institute. They were detained separately while visiting their relatives in Iran in May.
Iranian officials have said that the detained Iranian-American scholars are part of a U.S.-backed plot aimed at destabilizing Iran’s Islamic establishment.
A fourth U.S.-Iranian, Parnaz Azima, a broadcaster with RFE/RL's Radio Farda, who faces similar charges, is not being detained but her passport has been confiscated and she is unable to leave Iran.
The judiciary says the cases have "a legal procedure" and that "based on the context of the case, the judge will issue his decision."