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Weekend Reads Paris confirms the detention of a Frenchman in Iran for nine months

11:08  25 february  2021
11:08  25 february  2021 Source:   parismatch.com

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The French Foreign Ministry on Wednesday confirmed the detention of a Frenchman in Iran, arrested in May 2020 and detained since without explanation.

  Paris confirme la détention d'un Français en Iran depuis neuf mois © Majid Asgaripour / WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

The French Foreign Ministry confirmed on Wednesday the detention of a Frenchman in Iran, arrested in May 2020 and detained since without explanation according to the French weekly Le Point, a new subject of tension in perspective between Paris and Tehran. "The services of the ministry, in Tehran as in Paris, are closely monitoring the situation of our compatriot", declared the Quai d'Orsay, while a researcher with dual French and Iranian nationality, Fariba Adelkhah, is already retained in Iran since June 2019.

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"He enjoys consular protection provided for by the Vienna Convention of April 24, 1963", added the ministry. This procedure makes it possible to verify the conditions of detention, the state of health and access to a lawyer for any French national detained abroad. "As such, and despite the health situation, consular visits were made to him and regular contacts are maintained with him by our embassy in Tehran and with his family by our services in Paris", continued the ministry, without further ado. details of the circumstances of his arrest and detention.

A 35-year-old tourist

According to Le Point, this French national, a 35-year-old tourist, was apprehended by Iranian security forces in a desert area on the border between Iran and Turkmenistan. He was in Iran touring the country by van and has since been held in Mashhad's Vakilabad prison in the northeast of the country, the weekly said. The French daily Le Figaro had already reported Thursday, without further details, of the arrest of a Frenchman "in the desert while handling a drone". "This young tourist, illegally detained for about nine months, faces contradictory and false accusations," said lawyer Saïd Dehghan, who also defended Fariba Adelkhah, on his Twitter account. "The authorities have not provided the slightest file or the slightest explanation for his detention," adds a relative quoted by Le Point. "He is in good health and has been able to talk to his family on the phone three times", also relates this relative.

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A specialist in Shiism and post-revolutionary Iran at Sciences Po Paris, Ms. Adelkhah, for her part, was arrested on June 5, 2019 in Tehran. She was sentenced in May 2020 to five years in prison for "collusion with a view to endangering national security" and "propaganda against the political system" of the Islamic Republic, charges that she has always rejected. The researcher left Evin prison on October 3 and has since been under house arrest in Tehran, under the control of an electronic bracelet, with a ban on moving beyond a perimeter of 300 meters around her home, according to its support committee.

The arrests of foreigners in Iran, in particular of binationals, often accused of espionage, have increased since the unilateral withdrawal of the United States in 2018 from the international Iran nuclear agreement and the reinstatement of harsh American sanctions against Tehran . In recent months, Iran has conducted several prisoner exchanges with countries holding Iranian nationals convicted, awaiting trial, or threatened with extradition to the United States.

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