Iran Arrests Second French Researcher

  • France described Roland Marshall's arrest as "unacceptable" and demanded his release.
  • Fariba Adelkhah, another French researcher, has been detained in Iran for several months.
  • The detention of dual nationals on charges of trying to infiltrate or spy on Iran has been repeatedly reported and has become one of the country's most controversial issues.

The French Foreign Ministry confirmed Wednesday that another French researcher, Roland Marshall, had been arrested in Iran several months ago. A French research group said Wednesday that he was arrested along with Fariba Adelkhah in June. The Sciences Po university in Paris, both of which Marshall and Adelkhah are members, published the news of Mr. Marshall’s arrest on its website.

Fariba Adelkhah is a Franco-Iranian anthropologist at Sciences Po. On 14 July 2019, Farsi-language media from outside of Iran reported that she had been arrested in Iran. The Iranian Human Rights website Gozaar stated that she had been arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and was being detained at Evin Prison.

France described Roland Marshall’s arrest as “unacceptable” and demanded his release. Adelkhah, another French researcher, has been detained in Iran for several months. The Associated Press quoted Richard Banegas, a professor at Sciences Po in Paris,  saying that Mr. Marshall, an African expert at the university, was arrested in June while visiting Mrs. Adelkhah. According to Mr. Bangas, the two university staff had a romantic relationship.

The charges against Roland Marshall are unknown. Prof. Banegas said his colleagues described Marshall as an “academic prisoner.” Iranian officials revealed in July that Mrs. Adelkhah, a prominent anthropologist with dual Iranian-French citizenship, had been detained there.

Mr. Marshall’s arrest, initially leaked by the news sources, was previously not known. A French Foreign Ministry spokesman said French consulate officials in Iran have visited Mr. Marshall several times and are in contact with his family. “We want the Iranian authorities to show transparency in this dossier and act without delay to end the unacceptable situation,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll said in a briefing.

Researchers at Science Po University reported Mr. Marshall’s disappearance but did not make it public on the recommendation of the French Foreign Ministry. Iran does not recognize dual citizenship, and officials have previously rejected France’s request for consular access to Ms. Adelkhah.

Since the Iran hostage crisis, the Islamic Republic of Iran has engaged in a pattern of detaining foreign nationals for extended periods. Dual nationals are particularly vulnerable to arbitrary detention because Iran does not recognize dual nationality. According to the Center for Human Rights in Iran, the Iranian government has used imprisoned foreign nationals “as bargaining chips in its dealings with other nations.”

In late July, Ali Rabi’i, a spokesman for the Iranian government, confirmed the arrest of Fariba Adelkhah but said he was not aware of the reason for the arrest and did not know who had detained her and for what reason. Adelkhah, a researcher at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, was arrested more than a month ago on a trip to Iran. Intelligence agents reportedly arrested Ms. Adelkhah at her home, but Iranian authorities did not elaborate on her arrest and no charges were brought against her.

Ms. Adelkhah studied sociology at the University of Strasbourg, France, and received her doctorate from the School of Higher Studies in Social Sciences in Paris. Ms. Adelkhah’s field of research is mainly concerned with women’s issues and social events in Iran and Afghanistan. He has also lectured on various trips to Iran, including economics and politics.

In recent years, the detention of dual nationals on charges of trying to infiltrate or spy on Iran has been repeatedly reported and has become one of the country’s most controversial issues with other governments. Thе arrests саmе аѕ Prеѕіdеnt Emmanuel Macron conducts іntеnѕе diplomacy tо find a wау оf kееріng alive the 2015 nuсlеаr dеаl whісh lіmіtѕ Irаn’ѕ atomic рrоgrаm.  In another іnсіdеnt thаt is likely tо stoke tеnѕіоnѕ between Pаrіѕ аnd Tеhrаn, Iran said on Mоndау it hаd сарturеd аnd rераtrіаtеd Ruhollah Zаm, a Paris-based jоurnаlіѕt ѕuѕресtеd of uѕіng ѕосіаl mеdіа tо fuеl аntі-gоvеrnmеnt street unrеѕt across Iran early lаѕt уеаr.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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