Iran slams French 'interference' over detained academic

Tehran (AFP) –


Iran accused France on Friday of "unacceptable interference" in its domestic affairs after it sought consular access to detained Franco-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah.

Iran does not recognise dual nationality and has rejected similar requests from other Western governments for consular access.

Adelkhah's case comes as France spearheads European efforts to broker a dialogue between Iranian leaders and US President Donald Trump.

"The foreign ministry considers the French government's move unacceptable and deems it an interference in our country's domestic affairs," ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a statement.

"Adelkhah is an Iranian national and she benefits from all the rights of an Iranian citizen.

"There is no basis for this interference by the French foreign ministry... not only does this step not help the case in any way but it risks complicating the judicial proceedings."

A spokesman said Thursday that the French foreign ministry had "repeatedly requested consular access to Adelkhah and her release."

"It's indispensable that the Iranian authorities show transparency in her case and all cases involving foreign nationals detained in Iran," the spokesman said.

French authorities first announced Adelkhah's arrest on July 15.

A specialist in Shiite Islam, she is a research director at the Centre for International Studies and Research at Sciences Po University in Paris.

Iranian judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili confirmed her arrest the following day.

Late last month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, France brokered a telephone call by Trump to Hassan Rouhani but his Iranian counterpart refused to take it while crippling US sanctions remain in place.

The call was reportedly brokered by President Emmanuel Macron, who has been pushing to reduce the risk of a spiralling conflict in the Middle East after Trump pulled out of a 2015 deal aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Adelkhah is not the only academic in Iranian custody. On Tuesday, Iran confirmed the arrest of anthropologist Kameel Ahmady, reportedly a British-Iranian dual national.