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Iran drops espionage charges for jailed French acadamic

A specialist in Shia Islam, researcher Fariba Adelkhah is being held by Iranian authorities.
A specialist in Shia Islam, researcher Fariba Adelkhah is being held by Iranian authorities. France 24 screen grab

Iran has dropped espionage charges brought against French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah, who has been detained in the Islamic republic since June last year, her lawyer said on Tuesday.

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"The espionage charge has been dropped" for Sciences Po University academic Adelkhah, lawyer Said Dehghan told AFP. She still faces three other charges.

Iran has accused France of "interference" in the case of the Iranian-French academic, saying she is considered an Iranian national.

France had previously summoned Iran's ambassador to protest the imprisonment of Adelkhah and another academic, Roland Marchal of France, saying their detention was "intolerable".

Their imprisonment has added to distrust between Tehran and Paris at a time when French President Emmanuel Macron is seeking to play a leading role in defusing tensions between Iran and its arch-foe the United States.

Iran does not recognise dual nationality and has repeatedly rebuffed calls from foreign governments for consular access to those it has detained during legal proceedings.

A specialist in Shiite Islam and a research director at Sciences Po University in Paris, Adelkhah's arrest for suspected "espionage" was confirmed in July.

Her colleague Marchal was arrested while visiting Adelkhah, according to his lawyer.

The university and supporters said last week that Adelkhah and another detained academic, Australian Kylie Moore-Gilbert, had started an indefinite hunger strike just before Christmas.

Tehran is still holding several other foreign nationals in high profile cases, including British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi and his father Mohammad Bagher Namazi.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
 

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