Who Are the Dual Nationals Imprisoned in Iran?
At least 14 dual and foreign nationals, as well as foreign permanent residents, are currently imprisoned in Iran. According to research by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), the arrests are followed by a pattern of prolonged solitary confinement and interrogations; lack of due process; denial of consular access or visits by the UN or humanitarian organizations; secretive trials in which the detainee is given limited access to counsel; and long prison sentences based on vague or unspecified “national security” and “espionage” charges. Iran says it doesn’t recognize dual nationality.
In November 2017, Reuters reported that at least 30 dual nationals had been arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) since the signing of the nuclear deal in July 2015.
Iran has used imprisoned dual nationals as bargaining chips in its dealings with other nations. The Iranian judiciary’s ongoing imprisonment of these women and men—arrested by the IRGC’s Intelligence Organization or the Intelligence Ministry, often while they were visiting Iran—also reflects Iranian hardliners’ efforts to prevent Iran’s engagement with the West.
No Iranian official has ever been held accountable for the deaths of some of these detainees in state custody. Iranian judicial officials, including hardline judges, have also never been held accountable for their collusion with the arresting authorities, which often influence or dictate prison sentences and other forms of punishment.
In February 2018, prominent academic and environmentalist Kavous Seyed-Emami, who had Canadian citizenship, died under suspicious circumstances in Evin Prison after being arrested a month earlier with several other environmentalists. There are grave concerns for the lives of some of the current prisoners, especially Baquer Namazi, a senior citizen who has been hospitalized several times for heart procedures; Ahmadreza Djalali, who has lost a substantial amount of weight in prison for unknown reasons; and Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been separated from her three-year-old daughter for more than two years and has suffered from depression and contemplated suicide inside the Women’s Ward of Evin Prison.
Iran Briefing | News Press Focus on Human Rights Violation by IRGC, Iran Human Rights