Iran upholds 5-year jail sentence for French-Iranian researcher Fariba Adelkhah

The five-year jail sentence against Franco-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah, accused of endangering national security, has been upheld by an Iranian court despite global support and diplomatic pressure from the French government.

A court in Iran upheld a five-year jail sentence against Fariba Adelkhah - a Franco-Iranian academic with Sciences-Po university in Paris - who has been held in custody in Tehran since June 2019.

She was sentenced in May for "propaganda against the political system of the Islamic Republic" and "collusion to endanger national security".

The initial charges of espionage, punishable by death, were dropped in January 2020.

The five-year sentence upheld on 30 June includes the time served since her arrest on 5 June 2019. She is being detained at Evin Prison, situated north of Tehran.

The Iranian authorities do not recognise her dual French-Iranian citizenship, so she has been unable to receive French consular assistance, unlike her colleague and partner Roland Marchal.

He was arrested with Adelkhah in Iran on 5 June 2019, but was released on 20 March and was able to return to France.

He was freed following a prisoner swap. France released Iranian engineer Jallal Rohollahnejad, who faced extradition to the United States over accusations he violated US sanctions against Iran.

The academic community mobilised worldwide to call for Adelkhah and Marchal's release.

The jail sentence against Adelkhah was maintained despite pressure from the French government.

"We condemn this decision by the Iranian authorities who persist in holding Mrs Fariba Adelkhah only for political aims, in the absence of any serious evidence or fact," France's foreign ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

"We remain determined to secure the release of our compatriot," it added.

In May, the French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also condemned Adelkhah’s sentence as a “political” verdict and demanded her immediate release.

“This ongoing situation can only have a negative impact on the bilateral relations between France and Iran, and can only significantly reduce the trust between our two countries,” said Le Drian.

On 5 June, which marked one year since Adelkhah's incarceration in Iran, her portrait was hung up on the facade of the Paris town hall.