top of page

Fariba Adelkhah: French-Iranian Academic ‘Arrested in Iran’

Updated: Mar 13, 2022

On July 16, 2019, Iran's Judiciary has confirmed the arrest of French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah, who has become the latest dual national to be arrested in Iran, a day after French President Emmanuel Macron said he had raised the issue with Tehran.

Franco-Iranian dual national Fariba Adelkhah

Adelkhah, who is 60, is a director of research at Sciences Po's Centre for International Studies (CERI). She is a well-known anthropologist and researcher on Iran and Shiite Islam.

On Monday July 15, 2019, Macron expressed concern for the academic’s wellbeing after his government said she had been denied contact with consular staff. Adelkhah who is believed to have been arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) on suspicion of spying has traveled frequently between the two countries and has spent around half of the past 18 months in Iran, where her family lives, a friend and fellow academic Jean-Francois Bayart told AFP.

In an interview, Jean-Pierre Digard, research director at France's National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), who oversaw Adelkhah's doctoral thesis told France 24 that “She's apparently been arrested for spying, which is obviously a totally grotesque accusation.”

Adelkhah joins a string of dual nationals to be detained in Iran, most of them dual nationals from the Western countries.

Colleagues say she always avoided taking political positions that could endanger her work and has never condemned the conservative leaders of the Islamic republic who seized power in a revolution in 1979.

Iran has detained a number of dual citizens and foreign nationals in recent years, many of them on arbitrary espionage charges. They include Ahmadreza Djalali, a Swedish-Iranian Professor of Disaster Medicine (EMDM), and Xiyue Wang, a Chinese-American researcher at Princeton University.

Iran does not recognize dual nationality so has denied French consular staff access to Adelkhah.

Endangered Scholars Worldwide strongly deplores and condemns the ongoing detention of French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah, and calls upon all international organizations, academic and professional associations, and other groups and individuals devoted to the promotion and defense of human rights to strongly protest and condemn this arbitrary incarceration; to call for Adelkhah’s immediate and unconditional release; to urge the officials of the Iranian government to end the tactic of taking of dual citizen scholars and students hostage for political gains; and to respect, guarantee, and implement the provisions and principles of human rights.

Endangered Scholars Worldwide further is deeply concerned about the arbitrary detention of dual-nationals in the recent years in response to their exercise of the rights to academic freedom, free expression and free association, conduct that is expressly protected under international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a party. The ongoing tensions in Iran have a profoundly unsettling effect on academic freedom and represent a grave threat to higher education on a national scale.

Please send appeals to:

President Hassan Rouhani

The Office of the President

Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection


Islamic Republic of Iran

Javad Zarif

Minister of Foreign Affairs

The Minister’s Office

Imam Khomeini Square


Islamic Republic of Iran

Fax: +98 21 66743149



Kishore Singh

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education

Palais des Nations

CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

David Kaye

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and

protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression

Palais des Nations

CH-1211 Geneva 10


Fax: +41 22 917 9006

Federica Mogherini

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security


European Commission

Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat 200

1049 Brussels


Thorbjørn Jagland

Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Council of Europe

Avenue de l'Europe

F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex


Fax: + 33 3 88 41 27 99

Philippe Boillat

Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law

Council of Europe

Avenue de l'Europe

F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex


Fax: + 33 3 88 41 27 99


bottom of page