Three Australian citizens have been reportedly detained in Iran’s Evin prison. There has been a series of incidents where detentions of Westerners have taken place recently in the country.
The reports of detention were confirmed by the Australian government on Wednesday, assuring that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was in constant touch with the Iranian authorities to provide the three with consular support.
“Due to our privacy obligations, we will not comment further,” the department said in a statement, urging Australians who have planned trips Iran in the near future to “reconsider their need to travel.”
According to the UK media, a British-Australian hiker and her Australian boyfriend were detained by the Iranian authorities while they were traveling through Asia a couple of weeks ago. It is believed that the duo incidentally entered a military base in Iran.
The third is a scholastic who delivers lectures at the UK’s Cambridge University and in Australia. She has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, and is now under solitary confinement. Moreover, details of the crime she was held for have not been revealed.
“It sounds extremely concerning and of course the UK government will extend every possible support to UK British citizens who are held in Iran,” British Secretary of State for Business Andrea Leadsom said in a statement.
All the three detainees are held in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, where 41-year-old British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been reportedly imprisoned on spying charges since 2016.
The number of detentions of Westerners by Iranian authorities have recently increased as both Iran and the United States indulge in a long-standing cold war over tightened sanctions by the latter.
Iran has apparently tightened its policies toward Australian citizens after Australia announced last month that it would support the US-led mission to safeguard shipping in the Strait of Hormuz.