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16.07.2019 Europe

Franco-Iranian academic arrested in Iran

JUL 16, 2019 EUROPE

Iran has detained Franco-Iranian dual national Fariba Adelkhah and has yet to provide “satisfactory information” on her status, France's foreign ministry said Monday.

The foreign ministry said Adelkhah, a senior researcher at the prestigious Paris Institute of Political Studies, also known as Sciences Po, has been arrested and denied contact with French diplomats.

“The French authorities in this difficult context have taken steps with Iranian authorities to get information from them on her situation and the conditions of her arrest and asked for consular access,” spokesperson Agnes von der Muhll said in a statement.

“No satisfactory response has been given to these requests. France calls on the Iranian authorities to bring light to Mrs. Adelkhah's situation and reiterates its requests, in particular the authorisation of consular access without delay.”

The ministry statement did not say when the arrest was made, but US-based Persian language website Gozaar reported on Friday that Adelkhah was arrested in June by Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard.

According to the site, Adelkhah had made several trips between Paris in Tehran in recent months as part of a research project on the Qom seminary, one of the world's largest Shiite learning centres.

The arrest comes at an inopportune moment for France, which has sought to mediate between Iran and the United States to save the 2015 deal between Iran and major powers on Tehran's development of nuclear technology.

Adelkhah was born in Tehran in 1959 and completed a doctorate in anthropology at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris in 1989. Her faculty page on the Sciences Po website says she specialises in social and political anthropology of post-revolutionary Iran.