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France summoned Iran envoy over human rights violations: sources

Iran decried the actions of 'certain European powers' for allegedly meddling in their affairs [AFP]

Date of publication: 25 September, 2020

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France's foreign minister appeared to skirt a question on whether France had acted collectively with Britain and Germany to protest Iran's human rights record.
France's foreign ministry reportedly summoned Iran's envoy this week to protest the country's human rights records, according to three sources who spoke to Reuters.

Paris acted jointly with Britain and France to warn Iran over its treatment of political prisoners and dual nationals held in the country, one source said. France summoned Iran’s envoy on Thursday, according to two sources.

The news confirms a development reported by The Guardian on Wednesday. The respective ambassadors from all three countries were summoned this week, according to the British newspaper, in the first coordinated move of its kind by the three countries, known collectively as E3.

Despite France rarely commenting on human rights in Iran, on Sept. 22 Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Drian said more action needed to be taken in response to what he said were its worsening human rights violations following anti-government protests in 2019.

The foreign minister appeared to skirt a question on whether France had acted collectively with Britain and Germany on the matter.

"The French authorities regularly express their concerns about the serious and constant violation of human rights in Iran," spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll said.

"These concerns are shared by many partners including Germany and the United Kindgom," she added.

Iranian-French academic Fariba Adelkhah is serving a six-year sentence after being arrested in 2019. She was recently transferred from the Islamic Republic’s notorious Evin prison to the Ministry of Intelligence detention centre, according to The Guardian.

Read also: Anger as French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah marks one year in Iranian prison

The move by the E3 countries come amid continued efforts to keep a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran alive, while fighting the powerful current of the US "maximum pressure" campaign which seeks to kill the accord.

Several Iranian officials and entities were blacklisted by Washington on Thursday over suspected human rights violations. The EU has not imposed similar sanctions since 2013.

In a response to the Guardian article, Iran foreign ministry have decried the US and "certain European powers" for meddling in its in internal affairs, saying their behavior was "the heaviest blow to the principle of human rights".

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