By Will Ziebell
MELBOURNE, Sept 14 (Reuters) – A British-Australian woman jailed in Iran has been identified as Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a specialist in Middle East politics at the University of Melbourne.
The academic’s family issued a statement through the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade saying they were in close contact with the Australian government, and thanking both the government and Moore-Gilbert’s university for their support.
“We believe that the best chance of securing Kylie’s safe return is through diplomatic channels,” the family said in the statement.
British and Australian media have reported that Moore-Gilbert has been sentenced to 10 years in jail by Iranian authorities.
Moore-Gilbert is one of three Australian citizens detained in Iran. Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Thursday that the government had been working on securing their release for more than a week.
On Tuesday, the Australian foreign ministry identified two of the detainees as Australian Mark Firkin and British-Australian Jolie King.
Britain’s the Times newspaper has reported all three are being held in the same prison in Tehran where a British-Iranian aid worker, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, has been jailed since 2016 on spying charges.
The detentions have come amid a growing standoff between Western powers and Iran after the United States withdrew from a deal that imposed curbs on Iran‘s nuclear programme and then imposed sanctions on it, aiming to halt its oil exports.
(Reporting by Will Ziebell Editing by Robert Birsel)