7 French nationals detained in Iran, EU to adopt new sanctions

French foreign minister Catherine Colonna said that ‘two more French nationals have been detained in Iran.

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Overall, seven French individuals are now jailed in Iran, according to comments made by France’s foreign minister, Reuters reported. It’s a new indication of the deteriorating relations between the two nations.

Following the release of a video in which a French couple appeared to admit to spying and weeks of unrest that Iran has connected to foreign enemies, France lashed out at Iran on October 6, accusing it of “dictatorial methods” and holding its nationals hostage.

“According to our most recent investigations, two more French citizens are being held, and we’re concerned”, Catherine Colonna told the Le Parisien newspaper in an interview. The minister said in a tweet, that France asks the EU to adopt more sanctions against Iran.

The first two French nationals were detained in Iran in September

The two citizens were detained before the anti-government demonstrations in September following the murder of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, according to a story from Le Figaro.

Two more French individuals are being held, according to a representative for the foreign ministry, but she would not provide any other information.

Relations between Paris and Tehran have worsened

In recent months, relations between Paris and Tehran have worsened as efforts to restart nuclear negotiations on Iran’s program in which France is a party has failed.

Before France sent a new ambassador to Iran last week, neither nation had an ambassador in place.

The demonstrations over the death of Amini, while she was in police custody, have compelled the EU to impose sanctions on Iran alongside the United States, Canada, and Britain.

EU to impose new sanctions on Iran

At a meeting of foreign ministers on November 13, a fresh set of EU sanctions on human rights will be adopted, two diplomats told Reuters.

According to them, 31 designations for human rights abuses against people and organizations would result in asset freezes and travel restrictions.

Additional sanctions over drone supplies

According to one of the officials, France has also suggested additional categories for individuals involved in the transfer of electronic parts for drones as well as those who sell drones to Iran.

In October, the EU approved sanctions against Iran over its drone supply to Russia, then used in Moscow’s war in Ukraine to bombard energy infrastructure.

Iran sends Russia combat kamikaze drones Shahed-136. The Russian invaders are trying to hide the origin of the drones, marking them “Geran”.

Iran’s involvement in Russia’s war in Ukraine

Iran acknowledged that it had provided drones to Russia, but the country’s foreign minister insisted that the transfer of UAVs had occurred before Russia’s massive invasion of Ukraine. However, this version is not plausible

Despite the Iranian declaration, the chronology of the events on the battlefield does not seem to support its claim. Russia only started using Iranian attack drones in the war in September. Why then didn’t Moscow employ drones before while losing battles in the war if it had it? The Iranian declaration seems to be a very awkward attempt to find a justification for this wrongdoing knowing that it cannot deny anymore that Russia obtained its drones.

Iranian advisors spotted in the war in Ukraine

Furthermore, Iran sent its military advisors to instruct Russian troops on how to use its combat drones, according to Ukrainian intelligence. Kyiv stated that the Iranian government also intends to send a new group of advisors to Russia to train Russian troops in the use of Iranian surface-to-surface missiles and a brand-new class of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), called the “Arash-2.” Their deliveries are expected to start soon.

Read also: 10 Iranian instructors killed in Ukraine war

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