France’s government says it is "extremely worried" about the health of a 64-year-old French-Irish citizen who is on hunger and water strike in an Iranian prison.
The French Foreign Ministry said on January 17 that Bernard Phélan’s health is “fragile” and “requires appropriate medical monitoring, which is not provided in his place of detention.”
The ministry said it was working with the Irish government to have Phélan released “without delay.”
Phélan is one of seven French citizens held “arbitrarily” in Iran, it said.
Western governments have repeatedly accused the Islamic Republic of taking dual and foreign nationals hostage for the sole purpose of using them in prisoner swaps.
Phélan, a Paris-based travel consultant, was arrested in October 2022 on accusations of spreading anti-regime propaganda, according to his sister, Caroline Masse- Phélan.
He has been on hunger strike since New Year's Day, protesting his incarceration, and on January 16 accelerated action by refusing water, she told AFP.
He is being held in Vakilabad Prison in the northeastern city of Mashhad.
Also on January 17, Iranian media reported that a German national was arrested in the southern province of Khuzestan for allegedly taking photos of "sensitive oil centers."
Officials in Iran and Germany did not immediately comment on the matter.
Iranian security services have taken some 40 foreign nationals into custody, often without revealing any charges, since an ongoing wave of nationwide protests erupted in mid-September.
The Islamic Republic has claimed that the anti-government demonstrations are instigated by its foreign foes. Officials did not provide any evidence backing the allegation.
Many European countries have urged their nationals to leave Iran, warning that they face the risk of arbitrary arrest or unfair trial.