DUBAI (Reuters) - A former employee of the French embassy in Tehran has been arrested at the airport after arriving in Iran to visit her critically ill mother, the opposition website Kalemeh reported on Saturday.
Nazak Afshar, 58, who has French-Iranian citizenship, had previously been arrested in 2009 on charges of spying and of acting against Iran’s national security. Although she was put on trial at the time, no verdict was issued and she was freed following the intervention of the French government. She left the country the same year.
Afshar had traveled to Iran to visit her mother after “doctors had given up hope of her recovery”, the website said, without giving details of the ailment.
The potential opening up to the West after last year’s nuclear deal has alarmed Iranian hardliners and the arrest of Afshar and the detention of other people with dual citizenship appear to be part of a crackdown on what some officials have called Western infiltration.
Siamak Namazi, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, was detained by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in October while visiting family.
Baquer Namazi, Siamak’s 80-year-old father who is also a dual citizen, was arrested in February on his arrival in Tehran.
An Iranian-British former BBC journalist, Bahman Daroshafaei, was also detained in February but was released on bail three weeks later.
Officials have yet to announce charges against them but Iran’s judiciary spokesman said last month that most of the detained dual nationals face espionage charges.
Iran does not recognize dual nationality.
Tehran released four Iranian-Americans and one other U.S. citizen in January in a prisoner swap with the United States, which granted clemency to seven Iranians and dropped arrest orders for 14 others.
Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Sami Aboudi and Andrew Bolton