France calls on Iran to let historian go

4th April 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 4, 2007 (AFP) - The French foreign ministry on Wednesday said a French historian and expert on Islam was being held against his will in Iran and called on Tehran to allow him to leave.

PARIS, April 4, 2007 (AFP) - The French foreign ministry on Wednesday said a French historian and expert on Islam was being held against his will in Iran and called on Tehran to allow him to leave.

Stephane Dudoignon, who works for the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), was detained on January 30 during a trip to the southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan province, bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"We call on Iranian authorities to quickly find a solution allowing Mr Dudoignon to leave Iranian territory," said foreign ministry spokesman Denis Simonneau.

No charges have been laid against him, but his passport has been taken from him, said the foreign ministry.

Dudoignon's case was raised with Iranian ambassador Ali Ahani, who was called into the foreign ministry last week to also hear about French concerns over the detention of 15 British sailors.

Iran captured the 15 navy and marines personnel on March 23, accusing them of trespassing into its territorial waters. Britain insists they were on a routine patrol in Iraqi waters.

France has called on Iran to release the sailors and expressed its "solidarity" with Britain over the detention.

Le Monde newspaper reported that Dudoignon, who is married to an Iranian, was being held under de facto house arrest in Tehran while authorities were investigating the reasons for his trip to the sensitive area.

Dudoignon was arrested near Chabahar while taking photographs in the street of a religious procession, the foreign ministry said.

Le Monde reported that foreign ministry officials had hoped to resolve the case quietly through diplomatic channels.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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