French-Iranian academic and political prisoner Fariba Adelkhah

Iran, which is holding foreign and dual nationals in prison or under house arrest, says that it does not want to detain any more.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, issuing a high-profile statement on Sunday, said an online service will allow those holding dual nationality to check their legal records before travelling:

A new service will come on line within nearly a week which helps these individuals and says that you have no problem for entry and return.

And if a problem occurs, the Foreign Ministry will be responsible and we will guarantee this issue.

The Foreign Minister’s declaration appears to be linked to the Government’s effort to attract foreign investment amid serious economic problems. President Ebrahim Raisi said last month that Iranians living abroad who want to engage in business and investment should not have any concern about travel in the Islamic Republic.

Amir-Abdollahian said detentions had caused “unwanted consequences” for Iran; however, he preferred a reference to supposed “Iranophobia campaigns” affecting Iranian nationals abroad rather than to the economic situation.

The Government may face an obstacle in its plans because Iranian law does not recognize dual nationality. Amir-Abdollahian called for new legislation for a “final settlement of the issue”, but the hardliner-dominated Parliament may not be amenable.

The Detained

Iranian officials, including the Revolutionary Guards, have imprisoned a series of foreign and dual nationals for more than a decade in an effort for political leverage and for prisoner swaps. Those still behind bars or under house arrest include:

*US-Iranian oil executive Siamak Namazi, detained in October 2015, and his father Baquer, a former UN staffer, arrested in Feburary 2016

See also Ex-Political Prisoner Baquer Namazi, 84, Has Surgery After Iran Blocks Appeal to Leave

*Austrian-Iranian businessman Kamran Ghaderi, detained since February 2016

*French-Iranian national Nazak Afshar, who worked at the French Embassy in Tehran until her arrest in March 2016

*Swedish-Iranian scientist Ahmad Reza Jalali, arrested in April 2016 and threatened with execution

See a;sp Rising Concern That Iran Will Execute Swedish-Iranian Scientist Djalali

*Anglo-Iranian charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, imprisoned in April 2016 and still under house arrest

See also Iran Sentences Political Prisoner Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to Another 12 Months

*US-Iranian art gallery owner Karan Vafadari and his wife Afarin Neyssari, detained in July 2016 and still being held in Iran on bail

*Canadian-Iranian accountant Abdolrasoul Dorri-Esfahani, detained since August 2016

*Anglo-Iranian businessman Anoosh Ashoori, held since August 2017

*US-Anglo-Iranian Mohrad Tahbaz, seized with a group of environmentalists in January 2018

*Austiran-Iranian national Massud Mossaheb, 73, held since January 2019

*French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah, imprisoned in June 2019

See also Iran Court Confirms 5-Year Sentence for French Academic Adelkhah

*UK-Iranian national Mehsan Raoof, arrested in October 2020

*German-Iranian human rights activist Nahid Taghavi, seized in October 2020

See also Amnesty Calls for Release of 2 Dual Nationals from Iran Prison

*US-Iranian national Emad Sharghi, held since November 2020

Other foreign and dual nationals have been realized in connection with the 2015 nuclear deal or in prisoner exchanges. They include US-Iranian journalist Jason Rezaian, Chinese-American historian Xiyue Wang, and French academic Roland Marchal.