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British-Australian Women, Australian Man Jailed In Iran Named

Updated

An Australian couple detained in Iran nearly two months ago have been named as Mark Firkin, an Australian national, and British-Australian dual citizen Jolie King.

The two were detained by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps for camping in a military area around Jajrood in Tehran Province, according to BBC Persian.

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on September 12 released a statement on behalf of the couple's families: "Our families hope to see Mark and Jolie safely home as soon as possible. We have no further comment to make at this stage."

The couple were avid travel bloggers and their YouTube channel has 21,500 subscribers.

Manoto TV, a Persian-language broadcaster based in London, reported on September 12 that the couple had been arrested due to their lack of knowledge of Iranian laws relating to drone use.

Britain's Foreign Office on September 11 said that Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab “met the Iranian Ambassador...and raised serious concerns about the number of dual national citizens detained by Iran and their conditions of detention.”

Australian and British media reported on the previous day that two British-Australian women and the Australian male partner of one of them had been behind bars in Iran for some time.

Australia's ABC broadcaster reported that one British-Australian women has been in jail for nearly a year.

Britain's The Times newspaper said the British-Australian woman was an academic and had been given a 10-year sentence, although the charges were not clear, dpa reported.

Ten-year terms are routinely given in Iran for spying charges.

The two women are believed to be incarcerated at the Evin prison in Tehran where political prisoners are usually detained, the Irish Times reported. It's the same prison where a British-Iranian aid worker, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, has been jailed since 2016 on spying charges, The Times said.

The Australian government updated its travel advisory for Iran on September 9 stating "due to the risk that foreigners, including Australians, could be arbitrarily detained or arrested," travelers should reconsider their need to travel to the country.

The arrests come amid rising tensions between Iran and the West, after the United States withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

With reporting by ABC Australia, the Irish Times, dpa, Reuters, The Times, BBC, and the Sydney Morning Herald
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