A liberal intellectual has been arrested in Iran, the first detention of a prominent academic since the election of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last year, state media reported Thursday.

Ramin Jahanbegloo's arrest was confirmed by Sohrab Soleimani, a Tehran prison department official, in the official IRAN Persian daily.

Calls to authorities were not immediately returned on Thursday.

Jahanbegloo, 46, studied at the Sorbonne University in Paris. He headed the office of contemporary studies at the private Cultural Research Bureau.

His achievements include conducting postdoctorate research at Harvard University and writing some 20 books in English, French and Farsi.

Jahanbegloo has also interviewed several global figures, including the Dalai Lama this year and American intellectual Noam Chomsky in 2002.