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Politics

Two More French Nationals Held In Iran, Bringing Total To Seven

November 12, 2022
2 min read
Western countries accuse Iran of taking dual and foreign nationals into custody on false charges for the sole purpose of using them in prisoner swaps.
Western countries accuse Iran of taking dual and foreign nationals into custody on false charges for the sole purpose of using them in prisoner swaps.

France says two more of its citizens have been detained in Iran, bringing to seven the number of French nationals held in the protest-wracked country.

"We are worried about two other compatriots and the last verifications show they are also detained," Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said on November 12, calling for their immediate release and access to consular protection.

She did not give the identity of the two detainees.

"It is more important than ever to remind Iran of its international obligations. If its aim is blackmail, then it cannot work,” Colonna said.

Western countries have repeatedly accused Iran of taking dual and foreign nationals into custody on false charges for the sole purpose of using them in prisoner swaps.

Last month, Colonna announced that five French citizens were being held in Iran.

They include dual national Fariba Adelkhah, who was arrested in June 2019 and later handed a long-term prison sentence for allegedly undermining national security and for "propaganda against the regime."

Her partner, Roland Marchal, was arrested at the same time as Adelkhah but was released from prison in 2020 in return for the release of a detained Iranian.

Another French national, Benjamin Briere, was detained in 2020 and sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison for espionage.

French teachers' union official Cecile Kohler and her partner Jacques Paris were detained in May this year, accused of seeking to stir labor unrest during teachers' strikes.

There is also a "Frenchman who was passing through" Tehran, France's Foreign Ministry has said.

France and other European countries have urged their citizens to leave Iran “as soon as possible," saying they were exposed to a high risk of arrest, arbitrary detention and unfair trial.

Iranian officials have accused outside forces are stoking the ongoing nationwide protests, without showing any evidence to back up its claim.

The deadly crackdown on the demonstrations have prompted several Western countries to impose new sanctions on Iranian officials and entities. The EU is expected to announce further sanctions next week.

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