Iran judiciary confirms arrest of French-Iranian scholar, gives no details

Science Po anthropologist Fariba Adelkhah is considered one of the leading experts on the Islamic Republic.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF, REUTERS
July 16, 2019 11:18
1 minute read.
 A combination of file photos showing French President Emmanuel Macron  and Iranian President Hassan

A combination of file photos showing French President Emmanuel Macron and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. (photo credit: REUTERS/PHILIPPE WOJAZER/ALESSANDRO BIANCHI)

Iran's judiciary on Tuesday confirmed the arrest of French-Iranian scholar Fariba Adelkhah, a day after French President Emmanuel Macron raised the issue with Tehran.

Macron demanded an explanation on Monday from Iran after the arrest last month of Franco-Iranian dual national Adelkhah, an incident that complicates French efforts to defuse tensions in the region.

"This person was detained recently ... but due to the nature of the case, this is not the proper time to give any information about it," judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said in a live broadcast on the judiciary's website.

Adelkhah is considered one of the leading experts on the Islamic Republic. She was reported missing by Iranian opposition websites last June.

"The French authorities were recently informed of the arrest of Fariba Adelkhah," the French foreign ministry said in a statement quoted by the Guardian. "France calls on the Iranian authorities to shed full light on Mrs Adelkhah's situation and repeats its demands, particularly with regard to an immediate authorisation for consular access. No satisfactory response has been received until now."

As the British newspaper pointed out, this has not been the first time that dual national citizens have been detained by Tehran: among others, Iran has jailed British-Iranian project manager Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, and Iranian-American citizens Siamak and Baquer Namazi accusing them of espionage.

"What's happened worries me a lot. We were informed for several days and I had the opportunity to express not only my disagreement but my desire to have clarifications from President (Hassan) Rouhani," French President Emmanuel Macron told a news conference in Belgrade.

"I'm waiting for the clarifications, but it's obvious that France protects its citizens," he added.

Adelkhah's arrest comes as France is trying to de-escalate tension between longtime foes Iran and the United States over Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal.


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