- At least half a dozen dual citizens known to be held in Iran
- Easing of isolation accompanied by warnings of ‘infiltration’
Iran has arrested an Iranian holding dual citizenship on suspicion of spying for the U.K., bringing the number of known dual-nationals it has detained to at least half a dozen.
The individual, who wasn’t identified, was arrested last week in Tehran, Fars news agency reported Tuesday, citing Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi. The person was active “in relation with Iran in the economic sector,” Dolatabadi said without providing details on the suspect’s background or alleged activity.
Iran’s greater opening to the international community following a nuclear deal with world powers last year has made some of the more conservative political factions wary of increased foreign involvement in the economy and society.
Echoing sentiments expressed earlier by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Dolatabadi said officials need to be alert for any attempts by Iran’s enemies, in particular the U.S, to undermine the nation’s stability through “infiltration.” Such comments complicate President Hassan Rouhani’s efforts to paint Iran as open for business and draw foreign investment to help energize an economy hurt by years of international sanctions.
The announcement of the latest arrest follows confirmation by the judiciary last month that an American-Iranian, identified in foreign media reports as Robin Shahini, had been detained on unspecified charges. Earlier in July, Dolatabadi said indictments had been filed against British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, an employee of the Thomson Reuters Foundation; American-Iranian business consultant Siamak Namazi, and Canadian-Iranian anthropologist Homa Hoodfar, who are also held in Iran. He didn’t elaborate on the indictment or nature of the charges.
A British-Iranian businessman, Kamal Foroughi, was convicted in 2013 of spying and is serving an eight-year prison sentence.