Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian told the French newspaper that interviewed him in Tehran that Iran and France “are continuing their contacts to overcome misunderstandings between our two countries.”
He added that he is in “constant contact” with his French counterpart, Catherine Colonna, the last of which was on May 12, the day of the return of Benjamin Brier, 37, who has been imprisoned since May 2020, and the French-Irish Bernard Phelan, 64, who was arrested on October 3. October 2022, to France.
He continued, “We agree with Mrs. Colonna to make efforts to secure the release of French citizens who were previously convicted and imprisoned in Iran. But following up on this case is up to the judicial authority in our country,” noting that “Colona and other French authorities have already taken positive steps. The result is the result.” It is in the interest of both countries.”
Four Frenchmen remain detained in Iran: Cécile Collier and Jacques Paris, who were arrested on May 7, 2022, and Louis Arnault, who has been detained since September 28, and a fourth person whose identity has not been revealed. Paris denounces what it considers arbitrary arrests, describing them as “state hostages”.
Abdollahian told the French newspaper that he had “talked about every misunderstanding” with Colonna during a meeting that “lasted about two hours” in Beijing in April. He added, “There were agreements between us, and the result of part of our agreements was the release of two French citizens,” without clarifying what these “agreements” were.
He noted that during the protest movement that erupted in Iran following the death of the young woman, Mahsa Amini, in September, “a wide psychological and media war was waged against the Iranian people” and “(President Emmanuel) Macron was mistaken in expressing a certain vision on Iran, but he understood Quickly, nothing will happen in Iran.”
The French president had received, in particular, four Iranian dissidents at the Elysee, describing the demonstrations as a “revolution”.
However, Abdullahian believed that “Macron had a new beginning with the current government in Iran” and “had good, constructive contacts with (Iranian President Ibrahim) Raisi” before the protests erupted.