One would hope that CS Monitor was not the only major media outlet to verify that both citizens are connected with a Soros-funded organization. However, the Monitor piece was the only one I could find, after a reasonable time searching, that did verify both connections.(1) Other major press and news wires mentioned only one or another of the connections, or simply stated Iran's accusations.
One of the organizations in question, the Woodrow Wilson Center, is indeed partly funded by George Soros. The Monitor piece mentioned that:
The Washington Post reports that Wilson Center director Lee H. Hamilton also denied the allegations against Esfandiari, saying: "Haleh was not engaged in any activities to undermine any government, including the Iranian government. Nor does the Wilson Center engage in such activities.... There is not one scintilla of evidence to support these outrageous claims."Ah, but there's too much history built up. So you no longer need evidence to jump to the conclusion that wherever Soros and his money are found, you will also find an attempt to destabilize a government and balkanize a nation. That perception is now shared worldwide by every government.
So why would the US Department of State want to be involved in the slightest way with Mr Soros and his well-documented way of doing things? And in Iran, of all places?
Nobody believes Esfandiari's cover story about visiting her dear old sick mother and her excuse for overstaying her visa in Iran. (She said she lost her passport.) If you lose your US passport in Iran you ring up State and say, "Get me out of here yesterday."
So, while Esfandiari's confession was probably coerced, she did not make up the story out of whole cloth. More to the point, her association with a Soros funded organization is the kiss of death.
Mr Soros believes in abusing the strategy of soft power, and US interests have been paying the price since the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. State should not compound the error in Iran.
1) "Agence France-Presse reports that the Iranian ministry's statement also alleged that Ms. Esfandiari admitted in interrogations that the Soros Foundation, which partially funds the Woodrow Wilson Center, was "trying to create in Iran an official network and was trying to expand it to carry out an overthrow." AFP also writes that the ministry said that with Esfandiari's "cooperation," a Soros Foundation "representative" in Iran was being hunted by the police.
"The Financial Times writes that Kian Tajbakhsh, an Iranian-American social scientist, was also recently detained in Iran. Mr. Tajbakhsh is tied to the Open Society Institute, which is part of businessman-philanthropist George Soros' foundation, which an associate described to the Financial Times as involved with earthquake relief, health, and cultural exchanges."