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

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