Published: Fri, April 27, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Iran claims arrested British professor is part of 'network of United Kingdom spies'

Iran claims arrested British professor is part of 'network of United Kingdom spies'

British-Iranian scientist and peace campaigner Abbas Edalat has been arrested in Iran for his alleged role in an "infiltration network", Iranian media confirmed on April 25.

The CHRI, which describes itself as "an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit organization working to protect and promote human rights in Iran", said the scholar was first detained by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on April 15 while visiting Iran to attend an academic workshop, and remained under arrest 10 days later.

In April 2017, Mr Edalat was awarded the Imperial College of London's LICS 2017 Test-of-Time Award for a computer science paper he had co-authored with another academic.

"Recently, members of an infiltration network affiliated to Britain have been arrested", an unnamed source told the Fars news agency, which is considered close to the powerful Revolutionary Guards.

Britain said Thursday it was "urgently seeking information" from Iran following reports that a British-Iranian academic has been arrested.

CHRI added that one week after his arrest, Edalat's family prepared the bail money to secure his release but the court refused to release him.

"We are urgently seeking information from the Iranian authorities following reports of the arrest of a British-Iranian dual national", a Foreign Office spokeswoman said.

A spokesperson for Imperial College London said: "Professor Abbas Edalat is a valued colleague who has worked for Imperial College London since 1989". The force raided his house and confiscated his belongings, the Centre for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) said.

Outside of his university work, Edalat is an anti-war activist and also founded a group called the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran.

Iran does not recognize dual nationalities, so detainees like Edalat can not receive consular assistance. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager at the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was arrested in 2016 and remains in jail, while Kamal Foroughi has been held in Tehran since 2011.

Edalat is the latest dual national to be detained by Iran's Revolutionary Guard.

Iran has held quite a lot of Western twin nationals since its 2015 nuclear cope with world powers.

Iranian-American Robin Shahini was released on bail last year after staging a hunger strike while serving an 18-year prison sentence for "collaboration with a hostile government".

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