France calls for 'immediate release' of two French citizens 'detained' in Iran
Two French citizens have been detained in Iran, the French foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday, calling for their "immediate release."
The pair, who the ministry did not name, are the latest Western nationals to be detained in Iran in what activists argue is a deliberate policy of hostage-taking by the Islamic republic to extract concessions from the West.
Iran's intelligence ministry had announced the day earlier that two "Europeans" had been arrested on accusations of seeking to "destabilise the country."
The French foreign ministry said that France's ambassador to Tehran was seeking consular access to the detainees, while it had also summoned the Iranian ambassador in Paris.
"The French government condemns these baseless arrests," said the foreign ministry statement.
"It calls for the immediate release of these two French nationals and will remain fully mobilised to this end."
Even after the recent high-profile release of British former detainees Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori, activists believe at least a dozen Western nationals remain held in Iran.
They include Swedish-Iranian academic Ahmadreza Djalali who was sentenced to death in 2017 on charges of espionage for Israel which are vehemently denied by his family.
Iranian media have reported that he is due to be executed by May 21.