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EU accused of ‘ignoring’ plight of researcher jailed in Iran


Commission says it is “using every opportunity” to urge release of Ahmadreza Djalali and others

The EU has been accused of “ignoring” the plight of European citizens jailed in Iran, including Swedish-Iranian researcher Ahmadreza Djalali, who has spent years living under threat of execution.

Families of Benjamin Brière, Kamran Ghaderi, Jamshid Sharmahd and Djalali (pictured) set out their complaints in a letter to European Commission foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, the news agency Reuters reported on 6 September.

“We, the families of French, Swedish, German and Austrian citizens who have been illegally detained by the Iranian regime, are outraged that the EU seems to be ignoring these crimes,” the families reportedly wrote.

A foreign affairs spokesperson told Research Professional News that the Commission was “using every opportunity” to raise the issue with Iranian officials.

“Regarding the distressing issue of numerous EU citizens detained in Iran—in addition to activities of member states concerned, and in coordination with them—we are using every opportunity, including by [Borrell] who raised this issue personally during his visit in Tehran a few months ago, in our contacts with Iranian counterparts, to express our firmest disapproval to the Iranian authorities and urge them to release those EU citizens,” the spokesperson said.

They added: “This represents a disturbing and inacceptable [sic] practice. We will continue to use all channels of communication with Iran and all EU tools at our disposal to support the efforts of the member states concerned, which have primary consular responsibilities, and to facilitate their release.”

Djalali, a disaster medicine specialist, was arrested in 2016 and charged with spying, which he denied. He was later convicted and sentenced to death.

European academic groups have frequently decried his detention and called for his immediate release.