Salem Radio Network News Monday, May 29, 2023


Macron: Two French citizens released in Iran

PARIS (Reuters) – President Emmanuel Macron on Friday said two French citizens, Bernard Phelan and Benjamin Briere, who were detained in Iran are now free.

Ties between France and Iran have deteriorated in recent months with Tehran detaining seven French nationals in what Paris has described as arbitrary arrests equivalent to state hostage-taking.

The French foreign minister, Catherine Colonna, said in a separate statement that both men were now on their way to France, adding that she spoke to her Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir Abdollahian, on Friday morning.

Franco-Irish citizen Bernard Phelan earlier this year was sentenced to 6.5 years in prison for “providing information to another country” despite his bad health condition, his family had said.

Benjamin Briere had been held in Iran since May 2020, when he was arrested after flying a remote-controlled mini helicopter used to obtain aerial or motion images near the Turkmenistan-Iran border. An Iranian court in March sentenced him to 8 years in prison on spying charges.

“We will continue to work towards the return of those of our fellow nationals who are still detained in Iran,” Macron said in a tweet.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon and Tassilo Hummel, Editing by William Maclean)


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