France and Iran: Paris says Tehran has arrested two more of its citizens
The French government said Saturday that two more of its nationals are being held in Iran, bringing the total number of French nationals being held by Tehran to seven.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said: “We are concerned about two more of our compatriots as the latest reports confirm that they are also being held in detention.” Colonna announced last month that five French nationals were being held in Iran.
French media quoted Colonna as saying: “It is now more important than ever to remind Iran of its international obligations. If his goal is blackmail, he will not succeed.”
She added: “We call for his immediate release [عن المواطنين الفرنسيين]and to provide them with consular protection.
And French newspaper Le Figaro wrote on Friday that the two Frenchmen, whose identities have not been released, were arrested in Iran before anti-government demonstrations erupted in mid-September after the killing of young woman Mahsa Amini while she was in police custody.
Other detainees include Franco-Iranian researcher Fariba Adelkhah, who was arrested in June 2019 and subsequently sentenced to five years in prison for violating national security, which her family denies.
France last month accused Iran of what it described as “dictatorship practices” and taking its citizens hostage after a video clip surfaced of a French couple confessing to espionage.
The demonstrations following the death of Mahsa Amini prompted the European Union to follow the lead of the United States, Canada and Britain in imposing sanctions on Iran.
The European Union is expected to approve a new round of sanctions against Iran over human rights abuses during the nationwide demonstrations.
It is notable that relations between France and Iran have deteriorated in recent months, at a time when efforts to revive talks on Tehran’s nuclear program, in which Paris is involved, have stalled.
The French government advised its citizens who visited Iran last month to “leave the country as soon as possible”.
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