France, UK denounce Iran for seeking “hostage taking”

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France and Britain on Wednesday accused Iran of threatening their citizens after the Islamic Republic said French intelligence agents had been arrested during anti-government protests.

Tehran accuses Western adversaries of fueling national unrest sparked by the Sept. 16 killing of young Iranian Kurd Mahsa Amini, whom morality police arrested for allegedly breaking the Islamic dress code.

“People of other nationalities were arrested in the riots, some of whom played an important role,” Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi told state television on Wednesday.

“There were elements from the French intelligence agency and they will be dealt with in accordance with the law.”

France has denied statements by the Iranian Interior Ministry about the arrest of French intelligence officers and has demanded the release of all its citizens detained in Iran.

At the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Indonesia, French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters that Iran was being increasingly aggressive “with its unacceptable hostage taking”.

“I ask Iran to return to calm and the spirit of cooperation. I ask it to respect regional stability and also French citizens,” he added.

Paris says seven French nationals are being held in Iran.

Amini’s death and the crackdown that followed has further isolated Iran as its government struggles to revive a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

The head of Britain’s domestic spy agency said Iran’s intelligence services had, on at least 10 occasions, tried to kidnap or even kill British nationals or UK-based individuals considered by Tehran to be a threat.

Also on Wednesday, Iran’s judiciary sentenced three anti-government protesters in Tehran to death on various charges, Iranian state media reported. All three can appeal.

*Reproduction of this content is prohibited

Translated to english by RJ983

From Brazil, by EBC News

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