Iran confirmed on Tuesday (May 17th) that it had arrested two French nationals who authorities say tried to provoke unrest by meeting with representatives of teachers’ unions, state television reported. Television broadcast images of the two, a 37-year-old woman and a 69-year-old man, from their arrival in the Islamic Republic on April 28 until their arrest on May 7.
“The Ministry of Intelligence monitored the two people in organizing and coordinating meetings with some people who consider themselves to be members of the teachers’ union,” state television said, adding that they were “attempting to form a kind of demonstration to create unrest. »
In an audio file broadcast by the media, a female voice, presented as that of the arrested French national, says in English: “It is a battle to obtain the majority of Iranians. And a man, believed to be the second national arrested, says, also in English, “We should build a revolutionary package.”
” Unfounded “
The Iranian intelligence ministry announced on May 11 the arrest of two Europeans accused of seeking to “destabilize” the country, without specifying their nationality. Then on Thursday, the Quai d’Orsay said they were two French people, without identifying them and condemned the arrests as “baseless”, calling for their immediate release.
Iran is currently rocked by regular protests by teachers against their working conditions. Several of them were arrested, leading to further protests for their release. The Iranian authorities are holding several foreign nationals prisoner for reasons deemed political by Western countries, which consider that Tehran is using them as a means of pressure in negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue or to reduce the pressure of international sanctions.
Earlier this month, the NGO Human Rights Watch demanded the release of nearly forty teachers arrested during the events surrounding the nationwide May Day protests.