Iranian-French academic Fariba Adelkhah. Kayhan London

PARIS, Jan 12 (Reuters) – Franco-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah, whom Tehran has sentenced to five years in prison but was recently living under house arrest, has once again been incarcerated, France’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday, demanding her immediate release.

The new move against the Adelkhah, a researcher affiliated to Paris’s prestigious Sciences Po university whose detention had triggered a rift between the two countries in the past, comes as France and other western powers are negotiating with Iran to revive a nuclear accord.

“The decision to re-incarcerate her, which we condemn, can only have negative consequences on the relationship between France and Iran and reduce the trust between our two countries”, the ministry said in a statement.

“France demands the immediate release of Ms. Adelkhah”, it added.

Adelkhah was arrested in 2019 and handed a five-year prison sentence in 2020 before being put under house arrest.

French President Emmanuel Macron critised Tehran at the time of Adelkhah’s first incarceration, saying that she had been arrested arbitrarily, a claim dismissed as “propaganda” by Iranian officials.

The foreign ministry on Wednesday reiterated France’s position that Iran‘s treatment of the academic was politically motivated.

A group of her supporters said on Wednesday in a tweet that Adelkhan is being held in Tehran’s Evin prison.

(Reporting by Tassilo Hummel Editing by Chris Reese and Marguerita Choy)

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