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Iranian-American freed in Tehran

  • Story Highlights
  • Iranian-American Kian Tajbakhsh released from Tehran's Evin Prison
  • Tajbakhsh is third Iranian-American to be freed from Iran in recent weeks
  • Release comes before Iran's president arrives in NY for U.N. General Assembly
  • Two other Americans, Ali Shakeri and Robert Levinson, still believed to be in Iran
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From Jill Dougherty
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Kian Tajbakhsh, an Iranian-American social scientist who has been held in Iran since May, has been released from Tehran's Evin Prison, according to his employer.

Iranian-American scholar Kian Tajbakhsh was held prisoner in Tehran since May.

"We are delighted that Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh is reunited with his family in Tehran and we hope that this ends the distinguished scholar's ordeal," said Laura Silber with George Soros' Open Society Institute.

In an interview by reporters allowed into the prison last week, he said he expected to be released soon.

Tajbakhsh, who lives in New York, was working as a consultant for Iranian government ministries on issues such as HIV and AIDS when he was arrested in May. He was picked up in mid-May along with his pregnant wife, who is due with the couple's first child at any time. She was released the next day.

With his release, Tajbakhsh becomes the third Iranian-American to be freed in recent weeks after a period of detainment in Iran.

On Tuesday, Parnaz Azima, correspondent for Persian-language broadcaster Radio Farda -- funded by Radio Free Europe and Voice of America -- was allowed to leave Iran.

Iranian-American scholar Haleh Esfandiari was released in Tehran last month and returned to Washington, D.C. after more than 100 days in prison.

Two other Americans are still believed to be in Iran.

Ali Shakeri, a California businessman, was arrested in May and former FBI agent Robert Levinson disappeared while on a business trip to Iran in March. His whereabouts are not known and the Iranian government has said it has no knowledge of his fate. Levinson was last seen on Iran's Kish Island.

The release of Tajbakhsh comes just before Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, arrives in New York for the opening of the U.N. General Assembly. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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