Iran grants 5-day furlough for French-Iranian citizen

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian authorities granted a furlough for a French-Iranian academic who was sentenced to five years in prison for allegedly spreading propaganda, Iranian media reported Tuesday.

The semi-official ISNA news agency quoted Fariba Adelkhah’s attorney, Hojjat Kermani, as saying Adelkhah was on leave for five days but hoped that would be extended.

In January, Iranian justice officials ordered the re-imprisonment of Adelkhah, who was arrested in 2019. Adelkhah for a time had been allowed to serve a five-year prison sentence under house arrest.

She had been accused of “propaganda against the Islamic Republic’s political system” and “collusion to undermine national security.”

Another French citizen, Benjamin Briere, was arrested in May 2020 and Iran upheld the eight-year prison sentence of the French tourist for taking photos in a prohibited area and asking questions about Iran’s obligatory Islamic hijab for women.

Tehran wants a major prisoner swap as part of ongoing negotiations over the reinstatement of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers in Vienna. A similar swap accompanied the 2015 deal.

Adelkhah is among Western prisoners in Iran who are dual nationals. Iran does not recognize the status of dual nationals, recognizing them only as Iranian citizens. Western nations have urged Iran to release dual nationals and others, alleging they are used as bargaining chips in negotiations.

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