What Happened: Iran has detained a French-Iranian academic researcher working in the country, according to the French Foreign Ministry, Reuters reported July 15. According to Tehran, she was detained in June on espionage charges.
Why It Matters: As tensions between Western countries and Iran rise, the risk of arbitrary detention will pose an increasing threat to foreigners, particularly those from Western countries. The detention could also cause relations between Iran and France to deteriorate further, while the United States could use the arrest to convince its allies to take a harder stance against Tehran.
Background: Iran has previously detained Western nationals on often-vague charges of espionage or subversion to gain leverage against other countries. Relations between Iran and France, as well as with other countries, have been deteriorating of late after Tehran accused European nations of not upholding their commitments to economic provisions of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal.
- Iran Goes All in for a Game of Nuclear Chicken (July 11, 2019)
- Tehran Journeys Down a Provocative Nuclear Path (July 8, 2019)
- Why the U.S. Plan to Protect Tankers in the Persian Gulf Won't Deter Iran (July 8, 2019)