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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

British-Iranian analyst reported arrested is 'free in Iran', family says

Mahan Abedin is not being detained in the country, his brother told The National

A prison in Tehran. Reuters
A prison in Tehran. Reuters

A British-Iranian national who had reportedly been arrested in Iran is not being currently detained, his family said on Thursday.

News site Iran Wire said on Wednesday that security analyst Mahan Abedin had been arrested by Iranian authorities on national security charges, citing an anonymous source in Tehran.

Maysam Abedin told The National that his brother Mahan was not being held.

“Mahan is not in detention and is currently free in Iran. He is not connected in any way to the confirmed arrests of Iranian dual citizen,” Mr Abedin wrote in response to an email request.

Britain’s foreign office also confirmed that Mr Abedin was not being held. A spokesman said on Thursday: "We are aware of media reports of the arrest of a British citizen in Iran. We have been in contact with the family and they have confirmed that he is not currently in detention."

Mr Abedin, who is an active contributor to news websites and satellite television on politics and security, has a book on Iran titled “Iran Resurgent: The Rise and Rise of the Shia State” due for publication in November 2018.

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His publisher Michael Dwyer from London-based Hurst Publishers received a message from Mr Abedin on Monday to say that he would be out of contact for a period of time.

“While we heard from Mahan by email on Monday, we have no way of verifying that his messages are genuine, and his long radio silence till then had puzzled us, given the recent arrest of other British citizens of Iranian descent,” Mr Dwyer told the Guardian.

Three other dual nationals are known to have been detained by the Iranian authorities. The latest case was Abbas Edalat, a computer science professor, who was reported last week to be facing charges of leading an infiltration network.

Separately on Wednesday it was announced that a UK-based Iranian citizen who works for the British Council had been arrested in Tehran.

Aras Amiri, who is also a student at Kingston University, was detained while visiting her sick grandmother in the country.

Kingston University declined to comment on Ms Amiri’s case when contacted by The National. It is understood that institutions connected to the 32-year-old student are not commenting on her situation so as not to jeopardise her welfare.