26 April 2013
Omid Kokabee, a former graduate student in physics who has been imprisoned in Iran since January 2011, has written in an open letter that he was being persecuted for refusing to cooperate with Iranian military projects. In another, private letter, he says these projects are related to nuclear applications.
“Is it a sin that I don’t want, under any circumstances, to get involved in security and military activities?” he asks. “I have just turned 30 years old after spending two years in prison, when I am eager to pursue scientific research,” he remarks. Nature received copies of the letters from Kokabee’s contacts, who asked to remain anonymous because of fear of retribution.
In the public letter (read Nature's English translation of the Kokabee letter from the original Farsi), addressed to Ali Sharifi, who Kokabee describes as his former roommate at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, Kokabee says that he was asked to collaborate with the military before and during his detention, but always refused.