ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) - Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) have arrested at least 30 dual nationals since 2015, mostly on spying charges, twice as many as earlier reported by local or international media, Reuters said.
The number marks an exponential rise since Iran signed a deal with the world powers to lift sanctions in return for curbing nuclear enrichment.
The statistics of the detainees also shows 19 out of the 30 have European citizenship. Before the nuclear deal, Iran would mostly arrest Iranians with American citizenship.
IRGC has vast business interests in Iran and perceives foreign investors as competition. The entity has criticized the government for trying to repair international relations.
Families and lawyers of the detainees believe IRGC uses them as bargaining chips in international relations and to scare the European companies that would like to invest in Iran.
Iran does not recognize dual nationals and does not always announce arrests or charges, violating the U.N. Vienna Convention.
Detainees have denied the charges of espionage and claim both Iranian authorities and Western governments keep them in the dark.
Western governments, in turn, maintain that publicizing the identity of the arrested can harm the prisoners.