Iran Frees Two French Citizens. PHOTO/Reuters
PARIS – President Emmanuel Macron on Friday (12/5/2023) said, two citizens French , Bernard Phelan and Benjamin Briere, who were detained in Iran are now free. This is the latest release of foreign nationals detained in Indonesia Iran .
Relations between France and Iran have soured in recent months. Tehran is reportedly holding 7 French nationals in what Paris describes as arbitrary arrests equivalent to a state hostage.
France’s foreign minister, Catherine Colonna, said in a separate statement that the two men were now en route to France, adding that she spoke with her Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir Abdollahian earlier Friday.
“French-Irish national Bernard Phelan was earlier this year sentenced to 6.5 years in prison for providing information to another country, despite his poor health,” his family said in a statement.
Benjamin Briere has been detained in Iran since May 2020, when he was arrested after flying a mini remote-controlled helicopter used for aerial or moving pictures near the Turkmenistan-Iran border.
An Iranian court in March sentenced him to 8 years in prison on espionage charges. “We will continue to work towards the return of our nationals who are still detained in Iran,” Macron said in a tweet.