TEHRAN: Iran confirmed Tuesday the arrest of a French-Iranian academic without giving any details of her case, the latest in a long list of dual nationals held in the country’s prisons.
The detention of Fariba Adelkhah, 60, risks increasing tension between Paris and Tehran.
Adelkhah is a well-known expert on Iran at France’s prestigious Sciences Po university.
“She is among suspects that have been recently arrested,” Iran’s judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said, without specifying the accusations against her.
“Now is not an appropriate time to give more information on this case,” Esmaili told reporters at a news conference broadcast by the judiciary’s news website Mizan Online.
Sciences Po said the arrest of the researcher was “unacceptable and shocking.”
“We will do our utmost to ensure our colleague Fariba is released as soon as possible and under the best conditions,” it said in a statement.
French President Emmanuel Macron expressed concern for her welfare on Monday after his government said the dual national was arrested but had been denied contact with consular staff.
“What has happened worries me a great deal,” Macron said. “We have been aware of this for some days.”
“I have expressed my disagreement and asked President (Hassan) Rouhani for clarification,” he said, adding that France had so far received no meaningful explanation.
Adelkhah is the latest Iranian national with a Western passport to be arrested in Iran.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian project manager with Thomson Reuters Foundation, has been detained in Tehran since 2016 on sedition charges, a case that has caused major tensions with the UK.
Other Iranian dual nationals jailed in Iran include Iranian-American Siamak Namazi and his father Baquer, who are serving 10-year sentences for espionage in a case that has outraged Washington.
Chinese-American Xiyue Wang, a Princeton University researcher, is serving a 10-year sentence for espionage, and US national Michael White, 46, was this year also sentenced to 10 years.