Iran General NewsFrance says Iran detains an academic

France says Iran detains an academic

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AP: Iranian authorities detained a French academic and have barred him from leaving the country since January, the French Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.
Associated Press

PARIS (AP) – Iranian authorities detained a French academic and have barred him from leaving the country since January, the French Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

Stephane Dudoignon was arrested in the sensitive region of Sistan-Baluchestan, in southeastern Iran, on Jan. 30 after photographing a religious procession there, Foreign Ministry spokesman Denis Simonneau said.

Iranian authorities immediately released Dudoignon but confiscated his personal items, including his passport, Simonneau said. Dudoignon – a historian specializing in Islam – has not been charged with any crime, Simonneau said.

Dudoignon, who is married to an Iranian woman, is living with his wife’s family in Tehran, the French Le Monde daily reported Wednesday. He is not authorized to leave the city, Le Monde said.

The French Embassy in Tehran is in contact with Iranian authorities about the case, Simonneau said. Dudoignon’s case was also discussed during a meeting last week between the Iranian ambassador and French Foreign Ministry officials.

“We call on Iranian authorities to quickly find a solution to allow Mr. Dudoignon to leave Iranian territory,” Simonneau said in an online briefing on Wednesday.

In November 2005, Iranian officials arrested another Frenchman and a German, reportedly for taking photos of ships in the Persian Gulf. Stephane Lherbier and Donald Klein were convicted in January 2006 and sentenced to 18 months in prison. Lherbier, the Frenchman, was released in February, and Klein was freed last month.

The announcement of Dudoignon’s arrest comes amid mounting tensions over Iran’s seizure of 15 British sailors and marines last month in disputed waters in the Persian Gulf.

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