Iranian authorities release French national Louis Arnaud, imprisoned for over 20 months

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PARIS (AP) — French national Louis Arnaud arrived in France on Thursday after he was released by Iran where he was imprisoned for over 20 months for allegedly taking part in nationwide protests.

Arnaud was greeted at Paris-Le-Bourget airport by his family in the presence of French Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Séjourné.

French President Emmanuel Macron posted on the social media platform X on Wednesday that “Louis Arnaud is free” and thanked Oman, an interlocutor for the West with Iran, and “all those who helped bring this happy outcome.”

Arnaud had been arrested in September 2022 along with other Europeans.

French media reported that Arnaud, a consultant in his 30s, was accused of having taken part in nationwide protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amin, a young woman who died after being arrested for allegedly not wearing her headscarf, or hijab, to the liking of security forces.

Macron expressed his concern for three other French nationals who are still imprisoned in Iran, including Cécile Kohler and Jacques Paris, who were arrested in May 2022.

French authorities identified Kohler and Paris as a teachers’ union official and her partner on vacation in the country. Iranian authorities accused them of protesting with Iranian teachers and taking part in an anti-government rally.

The third French national detained in Iran has only been identified by his first name, Olivier.

“I call on Iran to release them without delay,’ Macron wrote on X.

“We’re still working” for them to be freed, Séjourné said Thursday. “Our diplomacy is still mobilized. … That will be the next victory for tomorrow. But here we must be satisfied with a great diplomatic victory for France.”

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