Two more French detained in Iran, Foreign Minister confirms news

Two more French detained in Iran, Foreign Minister confirms  news
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France is demanding the immediate release of the last detainees, as well as the five others previously arrested.

Two other French nationals were arrested in Iran, bringing the number of French nationals held there to seven Middle East country Secretary of State Catherine Colonna, rocked by weeks of protests, called for her immediate release and access to consular protection.

“We are concerned about two other compatriots and the latest checks show that they are also being held,” Colonna told Le Parisien newspaper on Saturday.

“It is more important than ever to remind Iran of its international obligations. When it comes to blackmail, it can’t work,” she said.

“My Iranian counterpart, with whom I had a long, difficult conversation, has pledged to respect that right of access. I expect it to be realised.”

The news came a day after French President Emmanuel Macron met four prominent Iranian activists at the Elysée Palace in Paris.

Macron said last month that France “stands by” protesters in Iran and expressed “admiration” for the women and youth demonstrating in the country.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry said his remarks were “intrusive” and was for encouragement “Violent and lawbreakers”.

Iran has seen major protests since mid-September Mahsa Amini died in the custody of the vice squad. The 22-year-old woman was arrested for improperly wearing a hijab. Tehran has blamed the United States and Israel for one of the largest protests since the 1979 Iranian revolution.

French prisoners

The identity of the two new detainees was not immediately clear.

The others kept locked in Franco-Iranian researcher Fariba AdelkhahArrested in June 2019 and later sentenced to five years in prison for undermining national security, her family has strongly denied allegations.

Other, Benjamin BriereHe was arrested in May 2020 and later sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison for espionage, charges he denies.

Official of the French teachers’ union Cecile Kohler and her partner Jacques Paris were also arrested in May this year and accused of attempting to foment workers’ unrest during a teachers’ strike.

There is also a “Frenchman who was passing through,” said France in Tehran.

The French government last month advised its citizens visiting Iran to “leave the country as soon as possible”.

protests and raids

The protests over Amini’s death have prompted the EU to join the US, Canada and the UK in imposing sanctions on Iran.

A new round of EU human rights sanctions will be approved at a meeting of foreign ministers on Monday, two diplomats told Reuters.

The sanctions would provide 31 designations for human rights abuses that would target individuals and organizations, covering asset bans and travel bans, they said.

France has also proposed new designations for those selling drones to Iran and to sanction people involved in exporting electronic components for drones, one of the diplomats said.

Also on Saturday, Iran’s judiciary charged 11 people with the killing of a member of the Basij security forces during weeks of unrest, state media reported.

IRNA news agency said some of the 10 men and one woman had been charged with “corruption on earth,” punishable by death, for crimes that led to the death on November 3 of a member of the pro-government Basij Karaj volunteer militia near Tehran.

Meanwhile, a jailed Iranian freedom-of-expression activist who is on hunger strike and is “in critical condition” will begin refusing water after being denied medical leave, his brother said on Saturday.

Hossein Ronaghi, 37, was arrested days after speaking out against it suppression of protests Hundreds of people were arrested and dozens died. However, official casualty figures are not available.

“Hossein said in a call from prison that he’s had seizures a number of times lately,” his brother Hassan wrote on Twitter.

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