Two other French nationals were arrested in Iran, bringing to seven the total number of French detainees in the prisons of the Islamic Republic, announced the head of French diplomacy, Catherine Colonna, Saturday, November 12, in an interview at Parisian.
“We had concerns about two other compatriots and it appears from the latest checks that they are also detained”she said. “It is more important than ever to remind Iran of its international obligations. If his goal was to blackmail, it must not work. It’s the wrong way to go about it with France.”added the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“We call for their immediate release, access to consular protection (…). My Iranian counterpart, with whom I had a long and difficult conversation, made a commitment to respect this right of access. I’m waiting for it to materialize. »
French people passing through called to leave the country
Friday, Le Figaro had already reported on these two additional detainees, citing a diplomatic source and an Iranian source. They would be imprisoned for several months, therefore before the start of the demonstrations which have shaken the Iranian regime since September 16, according to the daily. The Quai d’Orsay did not respond to requests for clarification on Saturday.
Among the seven hostages are the Franco-Iranian researcher Fariba Adelkhah, arrested in June 2019 then sentenced to five years in prison for undermining national security, Benjamin Brière, arrested in May 2020 and sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison for espionage, and two trade unionists, Cécile Kohler and Jacques Paris, arrested last May.
In early October, Tehran released a video presented as “confession” of the latter, leading to a virulent reaction from Paris which had denounced a “unworthy staging” and mentioned for the first time “state hostages”. In the video broadcast by the site of the Arabic-speaking channel Al-Alam of the official television, a young woman speaking in French claims to be called Cécile Kohler and to be an operational intelligence agent at the General Directorate of External Security (DGSE) , the French foreign intelligence services.
The Quai d’Orsay has since called on French people visiting Iran to “leave the country as soon as possible given the risk of arbitrary detention to which they are exposed”. More than twenty nationals of Western countries, mostly dual nationals, are detained or stranded in Iran, which NGOs condemn as a policy of hostage-taking to obtain concessions from foreign powers.