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Iran furloughs detained Iranian-French academic

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Authorities in Iran placed prominent Iranian-French academic Fariba Adelkah on furlough. The decision follows the recent talks between Iran and other world powers to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

Adelkah’s lawyer, Hojjat Kermani, told the Emtedad news outlet Tuesday that authorities placed the notable academic on furlough for five days. Kermani said they hope the furlough would last longer.

Adelkah was arrested in 2019 while on a visit to Iran. and in 2020, Adelkah was sentenced to five years in prison over national security charges. Adelkah was initially placed on house arrest but was moved back to prison in January. Adelkah has denied any wrongdoing.

France has called the detainment of Adelkah politically motivated and has called for the academic’s release. Adelkah is affiliated with the Sciences Po university in Paris. Iran does not recognize dual nationality and said the issue is a domestic matter.

Adelkah’s partner Roland Marchal, who was also arrested at the same time, was released in March 2020. Marchal’s release came after France released Iranian engineer Jalal Ruhollahnejad, who was detained over alleged violations of US sanctions on Iran.

The furloughing of Adelkah comes as Iran and world powers wrapped up a recent round of negotiations to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, which took place last week. An agreement to revive the deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, may be close after the latest round of negotiations led to the “final text” presented by the European Union.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the latest indirect negotiations that now include participation from representatives from China, Russia, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, focused on the technical adjustments to the initial text that was proposed last month.

The discussions ended Monday, with the representatives returning to their respective capitals for further consultation. Russia’s lead negotiator Mikhail Ulyanov said that if there are no objections between Iran and the United States, then a deal may be reached and the JCPOA restored.

Tehran said foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian spoke with Borrell after the text was presented, saying that Iran’s “views and considerations” were relayed to the bloc and that Iran expects “seriousness” from all sides to come to an agreement.

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