Two British-Australian women arrested in Iran

13 Septembre, 2019, 06:31 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • An Iranian inmate peers from behind a wall as a guard walks by at the female section of the infamous Evin jail

One of many ladies, a blogger who became travelling through Asia alongside with her Australian boyfriend, became arrested 10 weeks in the past on costs which dwell unclear, The Times reported on Tuesday.

The two British-Australian women are believed to be the first British passport holders without dual Iranian nationality to be held in the country in recent years. It wasn't clear when she was arrested, or what the alleged offense is, though the length of the sentence is common for espionage charges against foreigners, according to the Times.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed it is providing assistance to three people detained in Iran.

"Due to our privacy obligations, we will not comment further", he added.

Most of those with foreign passports arrested in Iran are Iranians with dual European or USA nationality. They were reportedly keeping their followers on social media posted about the journey and it was the absence of the updates that initially prompted concern.

The arrests come amid rising tensions between Iran and the West, after the United States withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

The three are held in Tehran's Evin prison, where British Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 41, has been detained since 2016 on spying charges, the newspaper reported.

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Those detained in the past 18 months include U.S. Navy veteran Michael White, arrested in July 2018; Morad Tahbaz, a British-Iranian businessman who was held in January a year ago; and Aras Amiri, an Iranian with British residency who worked at the British Council in London and was arrested in late November 2018.

Several British nationals with Iranian backgrounds are similarly held as Iran and Britain have been discussing the possible release of some 400 million pounds held by London since the 1979 Islamic Revolution for a tank purchase that never happened.

The Adrian Darya I, which was seized in July with the help of British Royal Marines, was released last month after Iran gave written assurances that it was not bound for Syria.

In most cases, Iran's judiciary had cited security-related charges or spying on behalf of foreign governments - both of which can carry the death penalty in Iran.

"It does sound extremely concerning and of course the UK government will do everything we can to support any UK British citizens who are caught in Iran", British business minister Andrea Leadsom told Sky News.

The latest arrests are also raising questions over the safety of travellers from other nationalities.

"We can't guarantee access to consular services or legal representation if you're detained or arrested", the government says.

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