Iran has released two French nationals

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanaani says that Iran has released two French nationals on humanitarian grounds.

The two men, Bernard Phelan and Benjamin Briere, were detained in Iran in 2022 and 2020, respectively.

In a statement published by the Iranian foreign ministry, Kanaani said the release was an act of “goodwill” following negotiations between the two countries at various levels, including discussions between the Iranian and French foreign ministers. He added that the release was also in line with Iran’s “related laws and regulations.”

Phelan, a 64-year-old travel consultant who also held Irish nationality, was arrested in October 2022 in Iran and sentenced to over six years in prison for “sending security information” abroad after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in a Tehran hospital on Sept. 16, a few days after her collapse at a police station.

Briere was arrested in May 2020 and sentenced to eight years in prison on espionage charges. He was detained after flying a remote-controlled mini helicopter to obtain aerial or motion images near the Turkmenistan-Iran border.

Phelan was released from Mashhad prison in northeastern Iran and on his way to France with his compatriot Briere, according to French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna.

Colonna had spoken earlier Friday to her Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir Abdollahian and described the release as an “effective and trust-building step” during the phone call, according to the Iranian foreign ministry.

For his part, Amir-Abdollahian commended France for its “realistic approach” in dealing with Tehran. He emphasized the importance of France’s “strategic independence” in today’s changing world, a point previously highlighted by French President Emmanuel Macron during his visit to China in April.

About Famagusta Gazette 9539 Articles
In addition to our Mediterranean perspective, Famagusta Gazette publish extensive coverage of world news, travel and tourism features, and financial information. Follow us on Twitter @FamagustaG