Iran media confirms arrest of British-Iranian academic

Abbas Edalat is a dual national who is a professor of computer science at Imperial College in London

Abbas Edalat was held on April 15 after travelling to Iran for a workship. Imperial College London
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Iranian media close to the country's Revolutionary Guards confirmed on Thursday that Abbas Edalat, a British-Iranian scientist and peace campaigner, has been arrested for his alleged role in an "infiltration network".

"Recently, members of an infiltration network affiliated to Britain have been arrested," an anonymous source told the Fars news agency.

A British-Iranian academic was detained in Iran by the country’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) in mid-April, the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) reported on Wednesday.

Britain’s foreign office (FCO) said it was urgently seeking information from Iran about the reported arrest of Abbas Edalat, a dual British-Iranian national who is a professor of computer science at Imperial College in London.

CHRI said Mr Edalat had travelled to Iran from his home in London at an unknown date for academic purposes. Quoting an unnamed source, it said the Guards had confiscated a computer, CDs and notebooks from Mr Edalat when he was arrested.


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A CHRI statement said Mr Edalat’s family posted bail for him on April 21 but the Revolutionary Court in Tehran did not release him, citing problems with documentation.

CHRI did not specify what charges may have been brought against Mr Edalat. The Iranian judiciary could not be reached for comment.

In April 2017, Mr Edalat was awarded the Imperial College of London’s LICS 2017 Test-of-Time Award for a computer science paper he had co-authored with another academic.

Three months earlier, Mr Edalat had told a university-focused website that he had stopped submitting research papers to US conferences after US president Donald Trump issued a travel ban on mostly Muslim-majority countries, including Iran.

He is the founder of the US-based Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII), an advocacy group that strongly opposes foreign intervention in Iran. In previous years he had authored several opinion pieces on the issue.

At least two other Iranian British dual nationals are in prison after being arrested by the IRGC.

The most high-profile British case is that of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a Thomson Reuters Foundation employee who was arrested two years ago and is serving a five-year sentence for alleged sedition.

Another Imperial College scientist, Kaveh Madani, was forced to leave Iran and quit his job as deputy head of the government's environment agency earlier this month following pressure from hardliners.

He later said he had been placed under unauthorised surveillance from the moment he returned to Iran in September.

“Iran’s continued arbitrary arrests of dual nationals without transparency and the denial of due process is extremely concerning,” CHRI executive director Hadi Ghaemi said in the release.

The IRGC has arrested at least 30 dual nationals since the signing of the Iranian nuclear deal in July 2015.