Adelkhah’s arrest risks increasing tension between Paris and Tehran

Adelkhah Fariba. (AFP)
Updated 17 July 2019

Adelkhah’s arrest risks increasing tension between Paris and Tehran

  • Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian project manager with Thomson Reuters Foundation, has been detained in Tehran since 2016 on sedition charges, a case that has caused major tensions with the UK

TEHRAN: Iran confirmed Tuesday the arrest of a French-Iranian academic without giving any details of her case, the latest in a long list of dual nationals held in the country’s prisons.
The detention of Fariba Adelkhah, 60, risks increasing tension between Paris and Tehran.
Adelkhah is a well-known expert on Iran at France’s prestigious Sciences Po university.
“She is among suspects that have been recently arrested,” Iran’s judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said, without specifying the accusations against her.
“Now is not an appropriate time to give more information on this case,” Esmaili told reporters at a news conference broadcast by the judiciary’s news website Mizan Online.
Sciences Po said the arrest of the researcher was “unacceptable and shocking.”
“We will do our utmost to ensure our colleague Fariba is released as soon as possible and under the best conditions,” it said in a statement.
French President Emmanuel Macron expressed concern for her welfare on Monday after his government said the dual national was arrested but had been denied contact with consular staff.
“What has happened worries me a great deal,” Macron said. “We have been aware of this for some days.”
“I have expressed my disagreement and asked President (Hassan) Rouhani for clarification,” he said, adding that France had so far received no meaningful explanation.
Adelkhah is the latest Iranian national with a Western passport to be arrested in Iran.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian project manager with Thomson Reuters Foundation, has been detained in Tehran since 2016 on sedition charges, a case that has caused major tensions with the UK.
Other Iranian dual nationals jailed in Iran include Iranian-American Siamak Namazi and his father Baquer, who are serving 10-year sentences for espionage in a case that has outraged Washington.
Chinese-American Xiyue Wang, a Princeton University researcher, is serving a 10-year sentence for espionage, and US national Michael White, 46, was this year also sentenced to 10 years.


Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

Updated 16 September 2019

Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

  • Joint operations planned to prevent attacks ahead of polls

KABUL: Afghan forces backed by US forces killed two senior Taliban leaders and at least 38 fighters of the hard-line insurgent group in joint airstrikes conducted in northern and western regions of Afghanistan, officials said on Sunday.

The operations, launched on Saturday night, were aimed at foiling attacks planned by the Taliban on Afghan forces, said a senior security official in capital Kabul, adding that clashes have escalated following the collapse of diplomatic talks between the US and the Taliban.

The Defense Ministry in a statement said that the Taliban’s designate governor for northern Samangan province, Mawlavi Nooruddin, was killed along with four fighters in an airstrike in Dara-e-Soof Payeen district.

But the Taliban denied the governor had been killed.

“He (Nooruddin) is alive,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman said in a statement.

HIGHLIGHT

Taliban deny the governor of Samangan province had been killed.

Last week, insurgents killed four Afghan special force members in a car bomb blast.

Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day.

In a separate incident, Mullah Sayed Azim, a Taliban designate governor for Anar Dara district in western Farah was killed in a joint Afghan and foreign force raid.

“Sayed Azim was killed along with 34 other insurgents in Anar Dara,” said Mohibullah Mohib, a spokesman for Farah provincial police.

Senior security officials in Kabul said several joint operations will be launched against Taliban and Daesh fighters to prevent attacks on Afghan forces and civilians ahead of the presidential polls on Sept. 28.

Fighting picked up in several parts of Afghanistan last week after US President Donald Trump’s abrupt cancelation of talks with the Taliban aimed at withdrawing US troops and opening the way to end to 18 year-long war in Afghanistan. 

 

Troops for polling day

Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day. Nasrat Rahimi, spokesman for the Interior Ministry said on Sunday that 72,000 security personnel will be on duty around the 4,942 polling centers across Afghanistan while nearly 30,000 additional troops will serve as reserve units.

Defense Ministry spokesman Rohullah Ahmadzai said security forces have recently taken back eight districts from the Taliban and that operations are underway to secure around 20 others.