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Iran Rejects Appeal To Free French Nationals, Saying 'Pressures Will Not Work'

Abbas Mousavi, the spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry. FILE PHOTO

Iran on Monday rejected an appeal by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to free two French nationals held in Tehran on security-related charges, saying the process should take its course.

An Iranian-French academic and her French partner were arrested last June and accused of spying. The spying charge was later dropped but they are still being held on other security-related charges. Iran does not recognize dual citizenship and treats Iranian dual-nationals as subjects of its laws.

Le Drian on Sunday had said, "We consider these detentions intolerable. We have made this known to the highest authorities, including President (Hassan) Rouhani.” He was speaking to in an interview with journalists, including The French newspaper Le Figaro.

But the spokesman of Iran’s foreign ministry, Abbas Mousavi, at a press briefing in Tehran responded to Le Drian, saying, “The French national has access to consular services and the Iranian individual was permitted to meet with her family several times. These sort of statements and pressures will not work,” and urged the French to wait until the process plays out. He did not elaborate on what that process is.

Human rights organizations have accused Iran of arresting dual-nationals and foreigners on made-up charges to use them as diplomatic bargaining chips.

Roland Marchal is a senior researcher at the Sciences Po university in Paris and Fariba Adelkhah, a Franco-Iranian dual national, is also an academic there.