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Energy

France summoned Iranian envoy over human rights - sources

PARIS, Sept 25 (Reuters) - France’s foreign ministry this week summoned Iran’s envoy over the country’s human rights record, three sources aware of the matter said, signalling concern about what Paris calls “serious and constant violations”.

France rarely comments publicly on human rights in Iran, but on Sept. 22 Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said more needed to be done over what he said was worsening human rights violations in Iran following anti-government protests in November 2019.

When asked whether France, in conjunction with Britain and Germany had acted collectively, to warn Iran over its treatment of political prisoners and dual nationals held in the country, a foreign ministry official sidestepped the question.

“The French authorities regularly express their concerns about the serious and constant violations of human rights in Iran,” spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll said.

“These concerns are shared by many partners, including Germany and the United Kingdom.”

One source said the three European powers had acted jointly and warned Iran its actions were harming relations. Two sources said the envoy had been summoned on Thursday.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported on Wednesday that the respective ambassadors from all three countries were being summoned specifically over Tehran’s treatment of political prisoners and the detention of dual nationals.

Iranian-French academic Fariba Adelkhah is serving a six-year sentence on security charges. Le Drian said she was being held for political reasons and the charges were baseless.

The move by the three Europeans, known as the E3, comes as they strive to keep alive a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, while confronting U.S. efforts to raise pressure on Tehran and kill the accord.

Washington on Thursday blacklisted several Iranian officials and entities over alleged gross violations of human rights. The European Union has not imposed sanctions over rights violations in Iran since 2013.

Without naming the E3, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh responded to the Guardian article in a statement saying some European powers were interfering in the country’s internal affairs.

“Iran believes the politically-motivated behaviour and selective moves of the U.S. and certain European governments have always dealt the heaviest blow to the principle of human rights,” he said. (Reporting by John Irish, Editing by William Maclean)

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