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France Says Relations With Iran Tougher After Citizen Sentenced

Handout picture taken in 2012 in an unknown location and released on July 16, 2019 by Sciences Po university shows Franco-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah.

France’s foreign minister has condemned Iran’s decision to sentence a French-Iranian academic to prison and said relations with Tehran have become more difficult after its politically motivated decision.

Fariba Adelkhah was arrested a year ago and charged with "propaganda against the system" and "colluding to commit acts against national security"; common accusations against dual-nationals Iran arrests as bargaining chips against Western countries.

"This sentencing was founded on no serious elements and was politically motivated. So, we firmly say to the Iranian authorities to release Fariba Adelkhah without delay," Jean-Yves Le Drian told France Inter radio.

"This decision makes our relations with the Iranian authorities a lot more difficult", Le Drian added.

Adelkhah, who has been in prison for a year, was this month sentenced to six years in jail on national security charges.

International human rights organizations have repeatedly called on the Islamic Republic to release dual nationals arrested on vague national security charges and tried behind closed doors, without due process of law.

With reporting by Reuters