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Iran: Ireland and France mobilized over 64-year-old binational prisoner

Bernard Phelan has been in an Iranian prison since October. Dublin and Paris are mobilized over this Franco-Irish conflict, the Irish Foreign Office said Friday.

“The Foreign Ministry is aware of this case and is providing consular assistance in close cooperation with France,” a spokesman for the ministry said. “This issue was also discussed directly with the Iranian authorities,” he added.

Paris-based tourism consultant Bernard Phelan, 64, is being held in Vakilabad Prison in Mashad (East), Iran’s second city, on charges including spreading anti-regime propaganda and photographing security personnel, charges he disputes. .

Arrested during September protests

He was arrested as the nation was rocked by protests sparked by the Sept. 16 death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd who died after being arrested by police for violating a strict Islamic dress code.

He went on a hunger strike earlier this year, according to the Irish Times. His family expressed concern for the health of Bernard Phelan, who has a heart condition, and by refusing to eat, he also stopped treatment.

His sister Caroline Massé-Phelan, who denounces the conditions of his detention, believes that he is being held for political reasons between Tehran and Paris and that he was “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Dozens of Westerners are in Iran’s custody, denounced by their supporters as innocents used as leverage by the Revolutionary Guards, as Iran and the major powers try to revive an international agreement struck in 2015 that guarantees the civilian nature of Tehran’s nuclear program , the accused, despite her denial seeks to get hold of atomic weapons.

Tehran ready for prisoner exchange

Among the foreigners detained in Iran are citizens of three European countries participating in the negotiations – Great Britain, Germany and France.

Among the French, who at the end of last year, according to Paris, there were seven, Benjamin Brière, who was sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison almost a year ago, stands out in particular. Tehran maintains that all foreigners are being held in accordance with its domestic law and has said it is open to prisoner exchanges.

Source: Le Parisien

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