One of the foreign and dual nationals held as political prisoners in Iran: Anglo-Iranian charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, detained since April 2016
UPDATE, SEPT 12:
The UK-Iranian blogger and her Australian partner, detained while hiking across Iran, have been identified as Jolie King and Mark Firkin.
The two were identified on social media, with contacts saying that their posts stopped in late June. On Thursday, officials confirmed that the couple had been in detentino for the past 10 weeks.
Iranian authorities have not said why the pair were detained. Initial claims said they were seized while in a military zone. Pouria Zeraati, a London-based Iranian journalist, said on Wednesday that they were held after flying a drone near Tehran without a permit.
There is still no identifcation of a UK-Australian academic seized in January.
ORIGINAL ENTRY, SEPT 11: Iran’s authorities have detained three more foreign nationals.
Two of the detainees have UK-Australian dual nationality. The third is Australian.
A UK-Australian academic, who teaches at a university in Australia, was arrested several months ago but her imprisonment was only revealed on Tuesday.
A “source familiar with the case” said the academic has been given a 10-year sentence after being held in solitary confinement.
Several weeks ago, a female UK-Australian blogger and her male Australian partner were seized as they camped in Tehran Province, reportedly in or near a military area. The Times’ source claimed the blogger was told by the Iranian authorities that she is being held to pursue a prisoner swap with Australia.
The two women are in Tehran’s Evin Prison. The whereabouts of the man are unknown.
The Australian Government is in negotiations with the Iranian regime over the conditions and potential release of the prisoners.
Iran released four American nationals when its nuclear deal with the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia) was implemented in January 2016. However, the Revolutionary Guards and Iranian intelligence services continued to seize foreign and dual nationals and Iranians with permanent residence abroad. The 12 detainees include:
*Anglo-Iranian charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, serving a 5-year sentence
*Iranian-American oil executive Siamak Namazi and his father Baquer, 82, a former UN official, both condemned to 10 years
*American Xijue Wang, a Ph.D. candidate in history, also serving 10 years
*Iranian-American-British environmentalist Morad Tahbaz, arrested with eight colleagues in January 2018
*American navy veteran Michael White, imprisoned in July 2018
*Swedish-Iranian scientist Ahmedreza Djalali, sentenced to death
*Austrian-Iranian IT specialist Kamran Ghaderi, serving 10 years
*Austrian-Iranian businessman Massud Mossaheb, the Secretary General of the Iranian-Austrian Friendship Society, held since January
Lebanese businessman Nizar Zakka was freed in May after serving one-third of a 10-year sentence.
Iranian Supertanker Defies Oil Embargo on Syria’s Assad Regime
Australia and the UK, along with Bahrain, are the other members of a US-led coalition for naval escort of shipping through the Strait of Hormuz. The operation was initiated after attacks on tankers in the Persian Gulf and the Revolutionary Guards’ seizure of the UK-flagged tanker Stena Impero on July 19, retaliating for the impoundment of an Iranian supertanker off the coast of Gibraltar two weeks earlier.
The Iranian supertanker, Adrian Darya 1, was released last month after Tehran’s written guarantees that it would not break European Union sanctions by taking its 2.1 million barrels of oil to Syria’s Assad regime. However, earlier this week the vessel, after circling in the Mediterranean, was able to reach the Syrian port of Baniyas and offload.
On Wednesday, the UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab summoned Iran Ambassador Hamid Baeidinejad over the development.