Paris: A person with dual French and Iranian citizenship and a German national were arrested in Iran more than two weeks ago, French daily newspaper Le Figaro reported on Friday.
Without citing its sources, the newspaper said the two individuals were arrested and detained before February 4 as leverage in anticipation of the sentencing of Iranian diplomat Assadolah Assadi in Belgium that day.
The diplomat was sentenced to 20 years in prison for planning to bomb an Iranian opposition rally in France in 2018.
Le Figaro said the Franco-Iranian was arrested in the desert flying a drone.
France’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Neither German nor Iranian officials were immediately reachable.
The arrests, if confirmed, would come at a sensitive time. The United States on Thursday signalled it was ready to talk with Iran about how both nations could return to a 2015 agreement that aimed to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
In a joint statement, the United States, France, Britain and Germany also called on Iran to release all their arbitrarily detained nationals.
As Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has increased its role and influence, it has become the leading security agency targeting dual nationals and foreigners. In reaction to former President Mohammad Khatami’s attempts to achieve limited accountability for the serial assassinations of dissidents in the late 1990s, several groups began to develop parallel intelligence institutions outside the control of his presidency. Under the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, those intelligence institutions retained and expanded their power outside the Intelligence Ministry’s oversight. Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards are responsible for all foreign nationals and dual nationals arrested in Iran, mostly on espionage charges.
Rights activists have accused Iran of arresting dual nationals to try to win concessions from other countries. Tehran denies it holds people for political reasons and has accused many of the foreigners in its jails of espionage.
Read the complete article at: The Sydney Morning Herald
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