Iran Refers Cases of Detained Iranian Dual-Nationals to Court

Iran's judiciary has referred the cases of four detained Iranian dual-nationals to court, who have been detained on charges of espionage and collaborating with a hostile government, the Tasnim news agency quoted a senior judiciary official as saying on Monday.

ANKARA, July 11 – Iran’s judiciary has referred the cases of four detained Iranian dual-nationals to court, the Tasnim news agency quoted a senior judiciary official as saying on Monday.

Several Iranian dual nationals from the United Sates, Britain, Canada and France have been detained in the past few months and are being kept behind bars on various charges, including espionage or collaborating with a hostile government.

“After the issuance of indictments, the cases against (British-Iranian) Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, (American-Iranian) Siamak Namazi, (Canadian-Iranian) Homa Hoodfar and (U.S.-Lebanese) Nizar Zekka … have been referred for processing to court,” Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said.

He stopped short of saying whether the court was a Revolutionary Court, which handles security-related cases.

Iran does not recognise dual nationality and treats detainees only as Iranian, depriving them of consular access.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 37, a programme coordinator with the London-based charity Thomson Reuters Foundation, was detained in early April before boarding a flight back to Britain with her two-year-old daughter. Her British husband, Richard Ratcliffe, says their daughter has been put in the care of Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family in Iran.

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) accused Zaghari-Ratcliffe in a statement published last month of trying to “overthrow” the government. Her husband has dismissed the accusation.

Dubai-based businessman Siamak Namazi, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, was detained by the IRGC last October while in Iran visiting his family.

Dolatabadi did not mention the case of Namazi’s 80-year-old father, Baquer Namazi, another dual American-Iranian national who his family said was detained in February. The Iranian authorities have not confirmed the elder Namazi’s detention.

Hoodfar is the most recent dual national to be arrested in Iran. The IRGC detained the 65-year-old Canadian-Iranian scholar on June 6 in Tehran. She had travelled to Iran in February for personal reasons, but had also been continuing her academic research while in the country, her family said.

Iranian state media said in November that American-Lebanese IT expert Nizar Zekka had been detained in Iran, accusing him of having links to the U.S. military and intelligence agencies. Lebanese media reported that Zakka had disappeared on Sept. 18 after attending a conference in Tehran.

The Iranian judiciary has not commented on their cases or made the charges against them public. But Iran’s judiciary spokesman said in January that most of the detained dual nationals were facing espionage charges.

In January, Iran released four Iranian-American dual nationals and an American in a prisoner swap negotiated between the United States and Iran coinciding with the implementation of a landmark nuclear deal with six major powers in 2015 aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear programme in return for the lifting of economic sanctions.

The United States also released seven Iranians, six of whom also had dual U.S. nationality. (Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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