Sunday, June 23, 2024

Release of two Frenchmen held in Iran


On Friday, French Foreign Minister, Iran Mr Two Frenchmen were arrested In separate cases in Tehran prisons, they are now in the process of being returned to France.

Shortly after announcing their release, French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed that his country would “continue to work for the return of our citizens still detained in Iran.”

Minister Catherine Colonna said Irish nationals Brennan Phelan and Benjamin Pryor had been released from prison in the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad and “are on their way to France”.

The French are among more than 20 foreigners jailed in Iran. Activists see holding them hostage as part of Tehran’s planned strategy to extract concessions from the West.

Phelan, 64, is a Paris-based travel consultant. He was arrested in Mashhad in October and remains in jail. In April he was sentenced to six and a half years in prison on national security charges, which his family vehemently denied. Phelan’s family said his condition had deteriorated dramatically in detention. Phelan announced a hunger strike in January to protest his arrest, but called off his movement at the request of his family, who feared he would die.

Pryor, 37, was arrested while traveling into Iran in May 2020 and later sentenced to eight years in prison for espionage. An appeals court later acquitted him, but he remained in prison under conditions his family described as “incomprehensible”. Pryor, who was held in the Waqilabad Jail in Mashhad like a villan, also announced a hunger strike to protest the conditions of his detention.

Four other French citizens, previously described by the French Foreign Ministry as “hostages,” are still being held in prisons in Iran. Colonna said he had spoken earlier on Friday with his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdullahian, and confirmed “France’s determination to ensure that other French nationals still detained in Iran regain their full freedom.”

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Iran’s foreign ministry said the two ministers had spoken by phone about the release of Pryor and Phelan, which it described as a “humanitarian act”.

France 24/AFP

Rolf Colon
Rolf Colon
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