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Bernard Phelan who is in prison in Iran. RTE News
humanitarian release

Tánaiste holds hour-long phone call with Iranian counterpart seeking release of Irishman

Phelan’s health is understood to have deteriorated since his detention.

TÁNAISTE AND MINISTER for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin has reiterated a request on behalf of the Irish Government for the release of an Irishman who has been imprisoned without trial in Iran for more than three months.

Bernard Phelan, originally from Clonmel, Co Tipperary, was jailed during a wave of protests against the Iranian Islamic regime.

Phelan, a Paris-based travel consultant and one of seven French nationals held by Iran, was arrested while travelling and is being held in Mashhad in northeastern Iran.

Iran accuses him of anti-government propaganda, a charge he has denied.

His family are concerned for his health, which is understood to have deteriorated since his detention.

Martin is understood to have had an hour-long conversation with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian yesterday where he raised concerns over Phelan’s case and reiterated the request that he urgently be released on humanitarian grounds. 

The discussion also touched on concern over Iran’s response to protests. 

Martin had already spoken to the Iranian ambassador about Phelan’s case earlier this month.  

The Tánaiste told RTÉ last week that the Irish Government is “very concerned” about Phelan, stating that he shared the concerns of his family.

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that while there are no engagements in the diary for him to speak with the Iranians, he will make inquiries as to whether that is possible. He said he would be “happy to add his voice to the efforts”. 

Protests that have shaken Iran since September over the death of a young woman, Mahsa Amini, in police custody.

Concerns about the detentions of European prisoners have grown as Iranian authorities have cracked down on the protesters.

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