Iran Confirms Holding British-Iranian Academic on Security Charges

DUBAI (Reuters) —

Iran confirmed on Sunday that it had arrested a British-Iranian academic on security charges, state media reported, the latest in a string of arrests of dual nationals in the Islamic Republic over the past few years.

On Wednesday, the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) said the Iranian Revolutionary Guards had arrested Abbas Edalat, a British-Iranian national who is a professor of computer science at Imperial College in London, in mid-April.

Asked about reports of Edalat’s detention, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejehi told reporters in Tehran: “I confirm his arrest on security charges, but I am unable to give details,” according to state broadcaster IRIB.

The semi-official news agency Fars reported on Thursday that Edalat was part of an “infiltration network affiliated with Britain” whose members had been detained.

Britain’s Foreign Office (FCO) has said it is urgently seeking information from Iran about Edalat’s arrest.

CHRI said Edalat had travelled to Iran from his home in London at an unknown date for academic purposes. Quoting an unnamed source, it said the Guards had confiscated a computer, CDs and notebooks from Edalat when he was arrested.

At least three other British-Iranian dual citizens are known to be held in the Islamic Republic.

Edalat is a founder of the U.S.-based Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII), an advocacy group that opposes foreign intervention in the Islamic Republic, according to CHRI.

The Revolutionary Guards have arrested at least 30 dual nationals since 2015, most for alleged espionage, Reuters reported in November.

According to former prisoners, families of current ones and diplomats, in some cases the dual detainees are being held for use in prisoner swaps with Western countries. Iran denies this.

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