TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian authorities indicted a French vacationer on fees of spying and spreading propaganda towards the system, his lawyer stated Sunday. It was the most recent in a collection of circumstances towards foreigners amid heightened tensions between Iran and the West.
Benjamin Berier was arrested in Could final 12 months after taking photos in a desert space the place images is prohibited and asking questions “within the media” about Iran’s compulsory Islamic headband for girls.
Underneath Iranian regulation, a spying conviction can convey as much as 10 years in jail and a conviction on a cost of spreading propaganda towards the system might be punishable by three months to a 12 months.
Berier’s indictment was handed up by the justice division within the northeastern metropolis of Mashahd. It wasn’t instantly clear when his trial would happen.
Rights teams accuse hard-liners in Iran’s safety businesses of utilizing overseas detainees as bargaining chips for cash or affect in negotiations with the West. Tehran denies it, however there have been prisoner exchanges previously. Final 12 months, Iran and France swapped French researcher Roland Marchal for Iranian engineer Jalal Ruhollahnejad.
Berier is the most recent Westerner to be held on broadly criticized espionage fees.
In March, distinguished British-Iranian twin nationwide Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe reappeared in a Tehran courtroom to face comparable accusations of spreading propaganda after finishing a five-year jail sentence. She stays in limbo in Iran awaiting a verdict, unable to return to London.
The circumstances come as Iran escalates stress on america and European powers, together with France and Britain, to grant badly wanted aid from sanctions. Harsh sanctions had been reimposed on Iran after the U.S. withdrew from Iran’s nuclear accord with world powers in 2018.
President Joe Biden has since joined in talks geared toward restoring the deal. However Washington and Tehran have reached an deadlock, with every insisting the opposite transfer first to revive the deal.