Iran airs video with 2 French citizens arrested for spying

Iran airs video with 2 French citizens arrested for spying
Iranian state television published a video of two French citizens it claims were arrested for spying on the country
2 min read
Iran has been roiled by weeks of protests over the death of Mahsa Amini [Getty]

Iran on Thursday published video showing two French citizens arrested for spying amid ongoing protests roiling the country that Tehran has sought to describe as a foreign plot instead of local anger over the death of a 22-year-old detained by the country's morality police.

The video resembled other videos of Tehran has forced prisoners to make. In 2020, one report suggested authorities over the last decade had aired at least 355 coerced confessions.

In January 2012, Press TV had its broadcasting license revoked by the UK government's TV regulatory body, Ofcom, for airing a forced confession by Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari.

Bahari told Business Insider that he was tortured by Iranian authorities and threatened with execution before he agreed to read out a pre-agreed script on Iranian television, filmed by Press TV.

The video released by the state-run IRNA news agency showed two French citizens, Cecile Kohler and Jacques Paris, who are unionists associated with France’s National Federation of Education, Culture and Vocational Training.

In the clips, Kohler wears a headscarf and purportedly describes herself as an "intelligence and operation agent of French foreign security service." Paris purportedly says: “Our goals in French foreign security service is put pressure on Iran’s government." The clips are part of what is described as a forthcoming documentary to air on Iranian state television.

The French foreign ministry responded by saying the video was "shameful, revolting and unacceptable".

"Cecile Kohler and Jacques Paris have been arbitrarily detained in Iran since May 2022, and as such are state hostages... the staging of their supposed confessions is shameful, revolting, unacceptable and contrary to international law," the ministry said in a statement.

In May, the French government demanded their release and condemned "these baseless arrests."

Their visit to Iran coincides with months of protests by teachers for higher wages in the country.

Meanwhile, Iran has been roiled by weeks of protests over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody after being detained by the country's morality police.