Iran slams France over defending French nationals detained by Tehran

Dilan Sirwan

May. 14, 2024 • 2 min read
Image of Iran slams France over defending French nationals detained by Tehran

Iran's Foreign Ministry criticizes France for alleging hostage-taking and blackmail, emphasizing the legitimacy of arrests, amid tensions over detained French nationals and broader dual citizenship disputes.

France should avoid resorting to statements outside diplomatic decency, Iran’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday in response to a French statement earlier in the month accusing Tehran of employing a policy of hostage taking and blackmail.

“The people mentioned in the statement of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs were arrested based on solid evidence and the French government is well aware of their crimes,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani told Iranian state media.

“The judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran is independent and its judicial decisions are respected and binding, Kanaani said, adding that they “advise the French Foreign Ministry to avoid resorting to such statements and using words outside of diplomatic decency, which have negative consequences on the relations between the two countries”.

In a statement last week, the French Foreign Ministry said that “France condemns this policy of state hostage-taking and this constant blackmail by the Iranian authorities,” referring to the detention of French nationals Cecile Kohler and her partner Jacques Paris since May 2022.

“France reiterates its demand for their immediate and unconditional release,” the statement read.

The two were accused by Iran of seeking to stir up protests, a claim that has been denied by their families, according to AFP.

“We are also thinking of all the other European hostages in prison in Iran, who are innocent of the absurd charges brought against them in show trials,” the statement added.

Several foreign nationals are held in Iranian prisons, including some dual nationals.

The Iranian government does not recognize dual nationality, and has previously sentenced to death a number of dual nationals including German-Iranian Jamshid Sharmahd and Swedish-Iranian Ahmadreza Djalali.

Iran started a large wave of arresting foreign nationals, especially those with dual nationalities, after former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the landmark Nuclear deal and imposed sanctions on Tehran.

Iran’s move has often been categorized by western countries as a way to take states hostage and blackmail them through their citizens.

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Author Dilan Sirwan

Dilan Sirwan is an Erbil-based Kurdish journalist covering Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. He focuses on political, economic, and social issues.


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