Poland confirmed that a Polish scientist was arrested in Iran: on Thursday, Iranian state TV announced that the Revolutionary Guards – a military body that responds directly to the Supreme Leader, Iran’s highest political and religious authority – had arrested several people foreigners on charges of espionage. Among them was a man of whom only one photo had been shown, and who had later been identified as the Polish scientist Maciej Walczak by those who knew him. In confirming the arrest, a spokesman for the Polish Foreign Ministry did not mention Walczak directly, but said loosely that a “respected scientist” had been detained in Iran since September 2021.
According to Iranian state TV, those arrested also included the husband of an Austrian diplomat and what was called the British Deputy Ambassador to Iran, Giles Whitaker (who has not held that role since the end of December). Austria and the UK had said it was false information. Iranian state TV says the arrested people were found taking soil samples in Iran’s central desert, in areas where the Revolutionary Guards were conducting exercises.
In recent years, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have arrested several foreign and above all European people, always with accusations of espionage or a threat to internal security: accusations considered by many commentators to be spurious or invented with political intent, or aimed at obtaining concessions from other countries. In particular, Iran would like to put pressure on European countries as part of negotiations to reactivate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which recently seemed close to failure.
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