Concern among his family and friends was mounting Monday about the welfare of a recent San Diego State University graduate apparently detained in Iran.
An Iranian judiciary spokesman confirmed Sunday that a person with U.S. and Iranian dual citizenship was taken into custody in Gorgan, a city around 250 miles northeast of Tehran, the country’s semi-official Fars news agency reported. He did not, however, reveal the name of the individual or the charges against him.
The government spokesman, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, said the unnamed individual will undergo “judicial procedures” in the capital of Tehran, according to Fars, which reported that Gholamrez “Robin” Shahini, a citizen of both nations, was visiting family when he was detained by Iranian intelligence officials on July 11.
Reports came to light late last week that the 46-year-old Shahini was missing, and Ejei’s statement marked the first official comment that an Iranian- American was in custody.
Shahini’s sister was quoted in multiple news reports as saying she worried his detention was the result of online comments critical of Iran’s human rights record. He was visiting his mother in Gorgan after graduating from SDSU in May.
Shahini, who left Iran in 1998, studied international security and conflict resolution and was set to start a master’s program in homeland security this fall.
The British newspaper The Guardian reported that Iran is holding at least six people with dual citizenships involving Iran and a second country, including the U.S., Britain, Canada and France, and may be holding them in order to make prisoner swaps. Iran doesn’t recognize dual citizenship, which bars embassy officials from visiting such detainees.
—City News Service