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The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Rohani, and the Supreme Leader of the Revolution Ali Khamenei, in 2017 in Tehran. HO / KHAMENEI.IR / AFP

Several media reveal this Wednesday, October 16, 2019 that a second French researcher has been detained in Iran since June. RFI is able to confirm the arrest of Roland Marchal, specialist in Africa, arrested in Tehran at the same time as the anthropologist Franco-Iranian Fariba Adelkhah.

Roland Marchal is a researcher at CNRS-CERI, specializing in Sudan. He was arrested by the Revolutionary Guards at Tehran airport when he had just landed at the beginning of June. The Franco-Iranian anthropologist Fariba Adelkhah , who for his part was already on the spot, was arrested and imprisoned at the same time.

France has chosen not to make public the detention of the two researchers, so as not to hinder the steps to obtain their release. But when last July, the Iranian press revealed the detention of Fariba Adelkhah, suspected of espionage by the Revolutionary Guards, Paris then publicly asked for his release.

The French authorities have not reacted for the moment to information on the detention of Roland Marchal. According to the entourage of the two researchers, their activities are " strictly academic ". Their colleagues are worried about this long-term detention, which seems to make Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal a " bargaining chip " in the climate of tension around Iran.

Recall that France has been mediating for months between Tehran and Washington, seeking a " de-escalation ". France, which sent a warning a few days ago to French nationals against any plans to travel to Iran because of " practices of arbitrary arrest and detention by the Iranian security and intelligence services ".

This week, the Iranian authorities also announced the arrest of an Iranian opponent who lived in France, Rouhollah Zam. The latter was speaking on the Amadnews channel, which he had created on an encrypted platform. For the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Rouholla Zam " worked with the French intelligence services ".