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What I Learned – Iran Arrests British-Iranian Academic, Amid Tanker Standoff With U.K.

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LONDON — A British-Iranian academic was arrested at his home in Tehran over the weekend, roiling relations once again between Iran and Britain just as they appeared to be making progress on the release of an Iranian tanker seized in Gibraltar.

The academic, Kameel Ahmady, an acclaimed social anthropologist of Kurdish origin, was detained on Sunday after Iranian security forces raided his house and seized documents, including his birth certificate, his wife, Shafaq Rahmani, said in a text message.

“A security prosecutor in Evin has issued a one-month arrest warrant for Kameel. No information about Kameel’s arrest or charge has been provided,” Ms. Rahmani wrote in an Instagram post, referring to Evin Prison, where a British-Iranian woman, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, has been jailed since 2016 on espionage charges.

Her case represented a low point for Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, who as foreign secretary in 2017 mistakenly told Parliament that Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in Iran “simply teaching people journalism.” His comments were later cited in an Iranian court hearing as proof that she had been engaged in “propaganda against the regime.”


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