Two French people have been arrested in Iran, the French authorities announced on Thursday, denouncing their “unfounded” arrest by Tehran, which is detaining several foreigners on its soil who could be used as leverage in its tense international negotiations.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it “has been informed of the arrest of two French nationals in Iran”, in a press release, without specifying their identity, the day after Tehran announced the arrest of two Europeans “who entered the country with the aim of unleashing chaos and destabilizing society”.
According to sources close to the case, the prisoners are an official of a teaching union and her companion.
Demonstrations around the country
Iran is currently rocked by regular demonstrations by teachers against their working conditions. Several of them were arrested, leading to further protests for their release.
“The French government condemns this baseless arrest. He calls for the immediate release of these two French nationals and will remain fully mobilized for this purpose”, according to the Quai d’Orsay, which adds that “the ambassador in Tehran has taken steps (…) to obtain consular access (…) and the charge d’affaires of the Iranian embassy in Paris was summoned to the ministry”.
Foreign nationals behind bars
The Iranian authorities are holding several foreign nationals prisoner, for reasons deemed political by Western countries, which consider that Tehran is using them as a means of pressure in negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue or to loosen the grip of international sanctions.
This double arrest is announced at the time the negotiator of the European Union (EU) in charge of coordinating the talks on the Iranian nuclear, Enrique Mora, is in Iran.