Macron calls for immediate release of French nationals held in Iran

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Iran is holding two French academics imprisoned this year

Dec 11, 2019

December 11, 2019

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French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that the imprisonment of two French nationals in Iran could not be tolerated and demanded their immediate release.

"On Human Rights Day, my thoughts go to Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal, our compatriots held in Iran, and their families," Mr Macron said on Twitter.

"Their imprisonment is intolerable. They must be freed without delay. I told President Rouhani, I repeat it here," he wrote.

Paris reported the arrest of Mr Marchal, a senior researcher at Science-Po university, in mid-October, while his Franco-Iranian colleague Ms Adelkhah, arrested on espionage charges, has been in prison in Iran since June.

Their lawyer, Saeed Dehgan, said on Tuesday that Iranian prosecutors have defied a judge’s ruling that the two academics could be released on bail.

Iran does not recognise dual citizenship for its nationals.

A prisoner exchange over the weekend saw Iran free a Chinese-American scholar from Princeton who had been held for three years on widely criticised espionage charges.

It was considered a rare diplomatic breakthrough between Tehran and Washington after months of tensions.

Tensions have risen sharply over Iran’s unravelling nuclear deal with world powers, which France still supports.

US President Donald withdrew from the accord over a year ago, before reimposing crippling sanctions on Iran’s economy.

Updated: December 11, 2019 04:57 AM

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