Hepner Hall at San Diego State University. Photo by Chris Jennewein
Hepner Hall at San Diego State University. Photo by Chris Jennewein

Friends and family of a recent San Diego State University graduate are worried that he has been detained while visiting relatives in his native Iran.

Gholamrez “Robin” Shahini, 46, has not spoken to friends or family in more than a week, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The American citizen traveled to Iran earlier this month and had been staying at his mother’s home in Gorgan, which is about 250 miles northeast of Tehran.

Shahini’s friend, Denera Ragoonanan, told the newspaper that Shahini’s sister told her that he had been taken from his mother’s home after being visited by Iranian intelligence. She said he might have been detained because of his online advocacy and criticism of Iran’s human rights record, which could have drawn the attention of the Iranian government.

“He just disappeared off the face of the planet. No one knows if he’s alive or dead,” Ragoonanan told the Union-Tribune. “Iran does not recognize Iranian-Americans. They believe they’re Iranians and are subject to Iranian law.”

Shahini studied international security and conflict resolution at SDSU and graduated in May. He was set to start a master’s program in homeland security this fall, according to the Union-Tribune.

The U.S. State Department is looking into the issue, according to media reports.

—City News Service