A second French national is being detained in Iran and has been imprisoned since the summer, Le Figaro newspaper reported on Wednesday, which is likely to complicate France’s efforts to defuse tensions between the United States and Tehran, Reuters reported.
Two sources aware of the matter confirmed to Reuters that Roland Marchal, a senior researcher from Science-Po university was being held in Iran, but declined to give further details given the sensitivity of the matter.
Marchal is a colleague of Franco-Iranian dual national Fariba Adelkhah, who has been held in Iran since June. On October 4, Iran said France’s call for the release of 60-year-old anthropologist Adelkhah was an interference in its internal affairs and would not help resolve the issue, Reuters adds.
Adelkhah was arrested at a time when France and other European powers were caught up in an international standoff over Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal, which the United States abandoned last year.
French President Emmanuel Macron has been trying to mediate between longtime foes Iran and the United States and growing tensions between the two in recent months.
Citing a person close to Marchal, Le Figaro said he had been seen by French diplomats and transferred to a standard prison. On October 9, France issued a new advisory for Iran warning people to postpone professional and personal travel plans.