Iran releases Iranian-American held since May

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WASHINGTON, Sep 20 (Reuters) An Iranian-American academic has been released from detention in Tehran's Evin prison after being held since May, the Open Society Institute said.

Kian Tajbakhsh, a consultant with George Soros' New York-based pen Society Institute was detained on security-related charges while visiting the country.

A spokeswoman for the institute said yesterday Tajbakhsh had been released late last evening, but was still in Tehran.

''We're delighted that Kian Tajbakhsh is reunited with his family,'' Laura Silber said by telephone, without giving further details.

Another Iranian-American academic also detained in May on the same charges, Haleh Esfandiari, a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, was released on bail in August. She returned to the United States earlier this month.

The judge in charge of Tajbakhsh's case said last week that bail of about 100,000 dollars had been set and that Tajbakhsh would be released soon.

The Open Society Institute, which had called for his immediate release, said Tajbakhsh had been detained for more than 130 days and had been held in solitary confinement.

Both Tajbakhsh and Esfandiari had been charged with acting against national security and spying.

REUTERS SZ AS0900

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