France denies claims Iran arrested intelligence agents in protests

"We are aware of a total of seven French nationals who are now arbitrarily detained in Iran," France's foreign ministry said.

 Demonstrators protest following the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran, in Berlin, Germany, October, 22, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/CHRISTIAN MANG)
Demonstrators protest following the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran, in Berlin, Germany, October, 22, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/CHRISTIAN MANG)

France on Wednesday denied claims by Iran's interior ministry that it had arrested French intelligence officers amid protests in the country and demanded the release of all of its citizens held in Iran.

"France categorically denies the false statements of the Iranian interior minister on our compatriots recently arrested in this country and recalls that it considers all these detentions to be arbitrary," the foreign ministry said in a statement sent to Reuters.

"As the (French foreign) minister indicated, we are aware of a total of seven French nationals who are now arbitrarily detained in Iran."

Iran's Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi told state TV on Wednesday that French intelligence agents were arrested in relation to anti-government protests in Iran, as demonstrations persist throughout the country.

The Islamic Republic has accused Western foes of stoking nationwide protests ignited by the death of Iranian Kurdish young woman Mahsa Amini on September 16 in the custody of the morality police.

"People of other nationalities were arrested in the riots, some of whom played a big role. There were elements from the French intelligence agency and they will be dealt with according to the law," Vahidi said.

France's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This also comes as Iran's judiciary sentenced three anti-regime protesters to death, according to Mehr News Agency.

FRENCH PRESIDENT Emmanuel Macron speaks during a video conference with international partners to discuss humanitarian aid for financially-strapped Lebanon, in Paris on December 2. (credit: IAN LANGSDON/POOL VIA REUTERS)FRENCH PRESIDENT Emmanuel Macron speaks during a video conference with international partners to discuss humanitarian aid for financially-strapped Lebanon, in Paris on December 2. (credit: IAN LANGSDON/POOL VIA REUTERS)

Macron: Iran being increasingly aggressive towards France

Last week, France's Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said a total of seven French nationals were detained in Iran.

Iran is being increasingly aggressive towards France by detaining its citizens, France's president said on Wednesday, adding that Tehran was also destabilizing the region with aggressive actions.

"I see an increasing aggressiveness from Iran towards us with its unacceptable hostage taking (and) a regional aggressiveness ..with extremely aggressive acts in the last few days on Iraqi soil," Emmanuel Macron told reporters at the end of a G20 leaders summit in Indonesia.

"I urge Iran to return to calm and a spirit of cooperation. I call it to respect regional stability and also French citizens."

"I urge Iran to return to calm and a spirit of cooperation. I call it to respect regional stability and also French citizens."

French President Emmanuel Macron

At least two people were killed and 10 wounded on Monday when rockets and drones hit the headquarters of Iranian Kurdish parties in the autonomous Kurdish region of neighboring Iraq. Iran's semi-official Fars news said the country's Revolutionary Guards had attacked the bases of "terrorist groups" there.