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Iran censures France’s ‘interventionist’ attitude on jailed academic

French-Iranian national Fariba Adelkhah

Iran says pressure will in no way impact the Iranian judicial system and its independence amid a renewed attempt by France to push for the release of an academic jailed in the Islamic Republic.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a statement on Friday that French-Iranian national Fariba Adelkhah had been jailed in Iran under a “fair and independent” judicial process.

Mousavi said the prisoner is serving a six-year prison sentence, which, he added, is proportionate to the crime she has committed.

“Political pressure and propaganda campaign would certainly fail to disrupt the enforcement of the verdict,” said Mousavi in the statement, while expressing hope that French authorities would end interference in Iran’s internal affairs.

The statement came hours after French President Emmanuel Macron posted a new tweet demanding the immediate release of Adelkhah, a 60-year-old anthropologist and researcher at Sciences Po’s Center for International Studies (CERI) in Paris, who was arrested in Iran in June 2019 on an espionage charge.

Macron said on Twitter that Adelkhah’s arrest had been arbitrary, a claim rejected by Tehran.

The French president also warned that Adelkhah’s continued imprisonment in Iran would affect French-Iranian relations.

Iran does not recognize dual citizenship and judicial laws affecting dual citizens arrested in the country. However, authorities in Tehran say prisoner swaps with other countries are possible on humanitarian grounds provided that such exchanges respect Iran’s judicial independence.

Iran carried out one such prisoner swap with France in March when French academic Roland Marchal was swapped for Iranian engineer Jalal Ruhollahnejad.

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