France says two more French citizens being held in Iran, bringing total to seven

Issued on: 12/11/2022 – 15:58

Colleagues of the French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah hold placards depicting her as they gather in front of the higher education institute Science-Po, in Paris, on January 13, 2022 to support her following the Iranian government’s decision to send her back to prison after a period of house arrest. © AFP

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Two more French citizens have been detained in Iran, bringing to seven the number of people from France held in the protest-wracked country, Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said Saturday.


“We are worried about two other compatriots and the last verifications show they are also detained,” she told daily newspaper Le Parisien.

Last month, Colonna said five were being held in .

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

“We demand their immediate release, access to consular protection.

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

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

The others held include French-Iranian researcher Fariba Adelkhah, arrested in June 2019 and later sentenced to five years in prison for undermining national security, allegations her family has strongly denied.

Another, Benjamin Briere, was arrested in May 2020 and later sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison for espionage, charges he rejects.

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

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

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

Iran has been rocked by protests since the death in police custody of young Kurdish woman in September, following her arrest for an alleged breach of Iran’s hijab dress rules for women.


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