Iran holding academic ‘for political aims’ says France

Franco-Iranian academic Adelkhah Fariba had her five-year sentence upheld. (AFP)
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Updated 30 June 2020

Iran holding academic ‘for political aims’ says France

  • Fariba Adelkhah was arrested in Tehran in June, 2019

PARIS: France on Tuesday accused Iran of holding French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah “only for political aims,” after the judiciary upheld a five-year jail sentence against her.
Adelkhah, a prominent anthropologist specializing in Shia Islam, was arrested in Tehran on June 5, 2019, and has been held behind bars ever since.
“We condemn this decision by the Iranian authorities who persist in holding Mrs.Fariba Adelkhah only for political aims, in the absence of any serious evidence or fact,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
“We remain determined to secure the release of our compatriot,” it added.
In May Adelkhah had been ordered to serve five years in prison after being convicted on national security charges.
Iran’s judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili confirmed Tuesday that the sentence had been upheld.
She will “serve five years” including time served since her arrest, Esmaili told journalists.
The French foreign ministry said this could only have a negative impact on relations “and substantially reduces the confidence between our two countries.”
A France-based support committee for Adelkhah denounced the ruling as a “parody of justice.”
It called for her release, especially given the spread of COVID-19 in Iran, with Adelkhah still weak after a 49-day hunger strike she waged from December to February.
Relations between Tehran and Paris have deteriorated in the past year.
Both were parties to the landmark 2015 nuclear deal.
But last week, France was among the countries that passed a resolution at the UN’s nuclear watchdog calling on Iran to clarify whether it had undertaken undeclared nuclear activities in the early 2000s — a move condemned by the Islamic republic.
Also Tuesday, the Iranian judiciary said that Iranian opposition activist Ruhollah Zam had been sentenced to death following his arrest last year.
Zam, a refugee for several years in France, disappeared on a trip to Baghdad in October. Paris-based Press rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has accused Iran of abducting him in Iraq to face trial back home.


France's Macron warns Iran not to interfere in Lebanon

Updated 16 min 2 sec ago

France's Macron warns Iran not to interfere in Lebanon

  • Macron tells Rouhani to support a new government which can manage the emergency

PARIS:  French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday warned Iran against any interference in Lebanon after the gigantic blast last week that has prompted a political crisis in the country.
In telephone talks with President Hassan Rouhani, Macron emphasised the "necessity for all the powers concerned... to avoid any outside interference and to support the putting in place of a government which can manage the emergency," the Elysee said.

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Lebanon's government under Prime Minister Hassan Diab resigned this week following days of demonstrations demanding accountability over the explosion at the Beirut port last week that devastated entire neighbourhoods of the city.
Iran wields huge influence in Lebanon through the Shiite group Hezbollah which was strongly represented in the outgoing government and has an alliance with the faction of President Michel Aoun.

 


The explosion, which left 171 people dead, has been blamed on a vast stock of ammonium nitrate allowed to rot for years at the port despite repeated warnings.
Macron, who was the first world leader to visit Beirut after the explosion, has taken the lead role in coordinating the international response and at the weekend chaired a virtual aid conference that drummed up more than 250 million euros ($295 million) in pledges.