Iran arrests British-Iranian academic, says rights group


UK says it is urgently seeking information from Tehran over reported arrest of British-Iranian academic

Iranian soldiers during parade, 18 April 2018 (AFP)
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Last update: 
Thursday 26 April 2018 10:29 UTC

Britain's Foreign Office said on Wednesday it was urgently seeking information from Iran following reports of the arrest of a British-Iranian dual national.

The New York-based Centre for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) reported that Abbas Edalat, a professor of computer science and mathematics at Imperial College in London, had been detained by Iran since mid-April.

"We are urgently seeking information from the Iranian authorities following reports of the arrest of a British-Iranian dual national," a Foreign Office spokesperson told Reuters. He said he had no further details about the case at this time.

According to the rights group, Edalat refused to post bail, arguing that he should be freed unconditionally because he has not committed any crimes. 

His family eventually posted bail for him on 21 April, but the Revolutionary Court in Tehran did not release him, citing documentation problems.

It is not clear what charges he is facing, but other Western dual nationals arrested in Iran have been accused of spying.

Earlier this month, family and supporters marked the second anniversary of the detention of British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Iran.

The CHRI condemned the "arbitrary arrests of dual nationals without transparency and lack of due process".

"The Iranian judiciary and the security establishment, particularly the Revolutionary Guards, are responsible for the well being of these detainees," the group said.

Edalat has been an outspoken opponent of sanctions and war against Iran.

"Unjustified sanctions only pave the road to a military attack on Iran. The West must change course and enter into negotiations in good faith if a catastrophe for the region and the whole world is to be avoided," he wrote in an article published by the Guardian in 2011. 

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