France: Paris has confirmed that two more French citizens are being held in Iran

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Two more French citizens are being held in Iran, bringing the total number of French nationals held there in the Islamic Republic to seven, the French foreign minister said, in yet another sign of deteriorating relations between the two countries.

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France lashed out at Iran on October 6, accusing Tehran of “dictatorial practices” and taking French citizens hostage after the broadcast of a video in which a French couple appeared to confess to being spies, following weeks of protests and unrest in which the Iran blames foreign enemies.

“We have concerns about two other citizens and from our latest checks the conclusion is that they are being held,” Catherine Colonna said in an interview with Le Parisien newspaper published today.

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On Friday, Le Figaro reported that the two French citizens had been arrested before the start of anti-government protests that erupted in September over the death of 22-year-old Masha Amini after the girl was arrested by Iran’s notorious morality police.

A foreign ministry spokesman confirmed that two additional French citizens were being held, but declined to give further details.

Paris-Tehran relations have soured in recent months as efforts to revive talks on Iran’s nuclear deal with major powers, to which France is a party, have stalled.

Neither country had appointed an ambassador to the other until last week, when France sent a new envoy to Iran.

The protests over Amini’s death prompted the EU to follow the US, Canada and Britain in imposing sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

A new round of EU human rights sanctions will be approved at a meeting of foreign ministers on Monday, two diplomats told Reuters.

The sanctions will target individuals and entities, with asset freezes and travel bans, they said.

France has also proposed new designations for those selling drones to Iran and imposing sanctions on people involved in the export of electronic components for drones, one of the diplomats said.

“If (Iran’s) goal is to blackmail us, then this is the wrong way to deal with France,” Colonna said.

Source: News Beast

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