Iranian Belgian Academic Arrested in Iran on Unspecified “Security Charges”
A dual national academic who has taught at the University of Tehran and the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium was arrested on “security charges,” a senior Iranian official revealed on March 4, 2019.
In speaking about the case, Deputy Science Minister Salar Amoli omitted details about the detainees’ identity, including his name and date of arrest.
“The University of Tehran has submitted a request to colleagues at the judiciary who are looking into whether he deserves to be given a break to avoid harming scientific ties between the University of Tehran and that university [in Belgium],” he told the state-funded Mehr News Agency.
“This is not a very worrying issue,” he added.
However, that day Mahmoud Nili Ahmadabadi, the chancellor of the University of Tehran, said that the Catholic University of Leuven had broken ties with the University of Tehran.
“Unfortunately, political issues have always had an impact on scientific collaborations,” Ahmadabadi told the state-funded Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA).
“In his recent trip to Europe, the Minister of Science [Mansour Gholami] had meetings with Belgian academic officials to follow up on this matter and the [Iranian] embassy and the Foreign Ministry are doing the same,” he added.
Continued Ahmadabadi: “During the trip, the universities in that country protested about the detained individual who taught at the university in Leuven. This matter is very important for their academic community.”
According to research by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), at least 11 dual and foreign nationals were known to be imprisoned in the Islamic Republic as of January 2019, including two academics held under trumped-up national security charges.
Iranian Canadian sociologist Kavous Seyed-Emami died in Tehran’s Evin Prison under suspicious circumstances in February 2018 two weeks after being detained by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC’s) Intelligence Organization.
Iranian Swedish scientist Ahmedreza Djalali has been imprisoned since April 2016 and is awaiting a review of his death sentence. In February 2018, the UN repeated its urgent call to Iran to annul the death sentence.
American scholar Xiyue Wang has been imprisoned since August 2016 under a 10-year prison sentence. In October 2018, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found “no legal basis” for Wang’s detention and called for his immediate release.