Iran has detained a French tourist for nine months and his lawyers have been denied access to him, one of the lawyers, Saeid Dehghan, told Reuters on Wednesday.

The arrest, if confirmed, would come at a sensitive time, when the United States and European parties to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal are trying to restore the pact that was abandoned by former U.S. President Donald Trump in 2018.

“His name is Benjamin and he is being held at the Vakilabad prison in the city of Mashahd. He was detained nine months ago and he faces contradictory and baseless charges,” said Dehghan, who declined to give the French tourist’s full name.

Iran’s judiciary was not available to comment. There was no immediate official reaction from French authorities to the news.

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards have arrested dozens of dual nationals and foreigners in recent years, mostly on espionage charges, including Franco-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah, whom Tehran sentenced to six years in prison in May 2020 for security-related charges.

Adelkhah was released on furlough last October. Dehghan, who is also Adelkhah’s lawyer, said she had been under house arrest since then.

“Of course, Adelkhah is wearing an ankle monitor which limits her movements to 300 m (985 feet) from home,” Dehghan said.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in a speech to the U.N. Human Rights Council on Monday called for Adelkhah’s release. Tehran, which does not recognise dual nationality, has rejected France’s calls to release Adelkhah.

French daily newspaper Le Figaro reported on Friday that a person with dual French and Iranian citizenship and a German national had been arrested in Iran more than two weeks ago.

Source » arabnews