Video of two French in Iran: “An undignified, repulsive production,” reacts the Quai d’Orsay
France reacted shortly after the broadcast of a video in which we see two French people making “confessions” of espionage. For the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which for the first time described these two Frenchmen as “state hostages”, this video is “an undignified, repugnant, unacceptable staging”. “This masquerade reveals the contempt for human beings that characterizes the Iranian authorities,” the French ministry added in a statement, calling for the “immediate release” of Cecile Kohler and Jacques Paris.
The two French are members of a teachers’ union
These two Frenchmen, who have been identified as members of a teachers’ union, “have been arbitrarily detained in Iran since May 2022 and as such constitute state hostages,” the Quai d’Orsay continues. Their “confessions, allegedly extracted under duress, are baseless, as are the reasons for their arbitrary arrest,” the ministry adds. “We hold the Iranian authorities responsible for their fate and treatment, as they are for all French nationals who are being arbitrarily detained in Iran at this time.”
Iran on Thursday broadcast a video presented by the two Frenchmen as “confessions” of espionage on the page of al-Alam, the official television’s Arabic-language channel. Cécile Kohler and Jacques Paris had been arrested at a time when the country was the scene of demonstrations by teachers demanding reforms to increase their salaries and the release of colleagues arrested in previous mobilizations.
A broadcast against the background of demonstrations
The broadcast of this video also comes against the backdrop of other demonstrations sparked off on September 16 by the death of a young woman, Mahsa Amini, after being arrested by the vice squad. According to NGOs, more than a hundred protesters were killed in the suppression of this protest. “Such manipulations and practices, worthy of the show trials of the worst dictatorial regimes, will not divert international attention from the legitimate aspirations of the Iranian people,” assures the Quai d’Orsay.
More than twenty Western nationals, mostly dual nationals, are detained or stranded in Iran in what NGOs condemn as a policy of hostage-taking to win concessions from foreign countries. Among them is Franco-Iranian researcher Fariba Adelkhah, who was arrested in June 2019 and then sentenced to five years in prison for undermining national security, something her relatives have always vehemently denied.
Frenchman Benjamin Brière was arrested in May 2020 and sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison for espionage, which he denies.
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