Iran has reportedly dropped the espionage charges against the French academic detained in the Islamic Republic since June 2019. Sciences Po University academic Fariba Adelkhah's lawyer told an international agency on January 7 that even though the charges which carry death penalty have been dropped, she still faces two other charges of spreading "propaganda against the political system" of the Islamic republic; and "conspiracy against national security". However, the supporters of academics want 'all charges dropped'.
As we prepare the silent gathering in front of @CERI_SciencesPo, we learn that Iran drops espionage charges. Great news. Iran should now drop ALL charges and release our colleagues. @FaribaRoland https://t.co/fM8oPCTQJj— Marielle Debos (@m_debos) January 7, 2020
Adelkhah is an expert in Iran and Shiite Islam was arrested in Tehran while in the same month, her colleague Roland Marchal was also detained. Iran does not recognise dual nationality of the Iranian-French academic and has repeatedly shrugged the calls from foreign governments for consular access to the ones detained in legal proceedings. Tehran has accused Paris of 'interference' in December after the French foreign ministry summoned Iran's ambassador to France to object the arrests of Adelkhah and Marchal.
The detention of Po University academics has also fueled the distrust between France and Iran especially when French President Emmanuel Macron has been willing to defuse the existing tensions. The French pair are reportedly not the only foreigners detained in Iran but the country has also imprisoned Kylie Moore-Gillbert of the University of Melbourne. Canberra has also expressed its 'deep concern' over the Australian academic's case after Gillbert lost an appeal against a 10-year jail sentence and began a hunger strike on Christmas Eve.
According to the statement by French foreign ministry after meeting Tehran official, Adelkhah 'has stopped taking food' and expressed 'grave concern'. However, international reports state that Tehran still maintains its stance and criticised Paris for 'unacceptable interference'.