Nahid Taghavi and Mehran Raoof return to solitary confinement after Iran court appearance

Dual citizens among five arrested after surveillance of meetings

Dual citizens Mehran Raoof and Nahid Taghavi appeared in Iranian court for the first time this week, more than six months after they were arrested. Supplied
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Two European-Iranians have been returned to solitary confinement in jail after appearing in court in Tehran accused of security offences following a round-up of activists by the regime, supporters said on Thursday.

Nahid Taghavi, 66, a German dual citizen, and Briton Mehran Raoof, 64, were among five people brought before a court after their arrests on October 16 following a surveillance operation of activists gathered at a Tehran café.

Two were released on bail while a Kurdish activist, Somayeh Kargar, was returned to prison despite losing most of her sight because of an eye condition, said UK-based supporter Satar Rahmani.

They are due to appear again in court next month on unspecified security charges.

Ms Taghavi's daughter, Mariam Claren, said the hearing provided the first opportunity for her mother to see her two brothers since she was arrested at her home in Tehran. "They hugged her. Her first hug after almost seven months," she wrote on Twitter.

Mr Raoof, a labour activist, has remained in solitary confinement since his arrest in October. He previously went on a hunger strike to protest against his detention.

Ms Taghavi had a brief spell in a general ward at Tehran’s Evin jail but was returned to solitary confinement two weeks before the start of the trial.

At least 15 dual nationals are believed to be held by the Iranian regime, according to the US-based Center for Human Rights in Iran.

They arrests generally follow a pattern of prolonged solitary confinement and interrogations, denial of consular visits, secretive trials and long sentences for unspecified national security offences.

The detentions of dual nationals are often used as bargaining chips to secure Iran’s broader diplomatic goals. The latest hearings come as talks continue over efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement.