France demands the immediate release of the latest detainees, along with the other five who were previously arrested.
Two more French citizens have been detained in Iran, bringing to seven the number of people from France detained in the Middle Eastern country rocked by weeks of protests, Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said, calling for their immediate release and consular access. . protection.
“We are worried about two other compatriots and the latest checks show that they are also detained,” Colonna told Le Parisien newspaper on Saturday.
“It is more important than ever to remind Iran of its international obligations. If your goal is blackmail, then it can’t work,” she said.
“My Iranian counterpart, with whom I had a long and difficult conversation, has agreed to respect this right of access. I hope it comes to pass”.
The news came a day after French President Emmanuel Macron met with four prominent Iranian activists at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
Macron said last month that France “supports” the protesters in Iran and expressed his “admiration” for the women and young people demonstrating in the country.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry said his comments were “nosy” and served to encourage “violent people and lawbreakers.”
Iran has witnessed major protests since mid-September, when Mahsa Amini died in the custody of the morality police. The 22-year-old woman was arrested for not wearing a hijab correctly. Tehran has blamed the United States and Israel for one of the biggest protests since the 1979 Iranian revolution.
The identity of the two new detainees was not immediately clear.
The other detainees include French-Iranian researcher Fariba Adelkhah, arrested in June 2019 and later sentenced to five years in prison for undermining national security, charges her family has strongly denied.
Another, Benjamin Briere, was arrested in May 2020 and subsequently sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison for espionage, charges he has denied.
French teachers’ union leader Cecile Kohler and her partner Jacques Paris were also arrested in May this year, accused of trying to provoke labor unrest during teachers’ strikes.
There is also a “Frenchman who was passing through” in Tehran, France has said.
The French government last month advised its citizens visiting Iran to “leave the country as soon as possible.”
Protests and repressions
The protests against Amini’s death have pushed the EU to follow the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom 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 see 31 designations for human rights violations that would target individuals and entities that cover asset bans and travel freezes, they said.
France has also proposed new designations for those selling drones to Iran and sanctioning people involved in the export of electronic components for drones, one of the diplomats said.
Also on Saturday, Iran’s judiciary charged 11 people in the killing of a Basij security force member during week-long unrest, state media reported.
The IRNA news agency said some of the 10 men and one woman were charged with “corruption on the ground”, which can be punishable by death, for crimes that led to the death of a pro-government volunteer militia member. Basij on November 3 in Karaj near Tehran.
Meanwhile, a jailed Iranian free speech activist who is on a hunger strike and “in critical condition” will start refusing water after being denied medical leave, his brother said on Saturday.
Hossein Ronaghi, 37, was arrested days after speaking out against the crackdown on protests during which hundreds of people were arrested and dozens were killed. However, no official casualty figures are available.
“Hossein said in a call from prison that he had seizures several times recently,” his brother Hassan wrote on Twitter.
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