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France, Netherlands urge nationals to leave Iran

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France and the Netherlands have urged their nationals to leave Iran and for others not to travel to the country, warning of political instability caused by the ongoing protests and the risks of arbitrary detention.

According to the Dutch news agency ANP, Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra yesterday called on all Dutch nationals in Iran to leave the country and advised against all travel there. France issued a similar warning yesterday, with its Foreign Ministry stating that both tourists and dual French-Iranian nationals are at high risk of arbitrary detention by Iranian security forces.

Since the death of a 22-year-old woman named Mahsa Amini in police custody on 16 September, after she was arrested for allegedly wearing her headscarf loosely, protests have erupted throughout Iran and have so far resulted in the death of over 154 people.

While police claim Amini died from a heart attack, her family and protesters insist she was beaten to death by police. The harsh crackdown by security forces have included the firing of live ammunition into crowds, beating protesters, and reportedly groping female protesters who remove their headscarves.

France’s warning in particular – in which it stated that “Any French visitor, including dual nationals, is exposed to a high risk of arrest, arbitrary detention and unfair trial” – came after Iranian authorities on Thursday aired an apparent confession by a French couple who were arrested back in May for alleged spying.

Tehran claims the couple are agents of the French intelligence service, and were sent to Iran to prepare grounds for riots by arriving with “chunks of money…meant to fund strikes and demonstrations.” France condemned the arrests and Tehran’s airing of the video, with media reports saying it was a forced confession.

The day before Amsterdam’s and Paris’ warnings for their nationals to leave Iran, the European Parliament also backed a resolution condemning the death of Amini, calling for sanctions on Tehran.

Source: Middle East Monitor 

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