Iran yet to respond to Russia on journalist’s release

Russia, a close ally of Iran, is yet to get assurance from Tehran that its national detained over an espionage charge will be released shortly, reports say.

Russia had sought consular access to journalist Yulia Yuzik, above, (Photo credit: Facebook) and explanation from Iranian authorities about the circumstances leading to her arrest last week.

Russia’s foreign ministry on Friday summoned Iran’s ambassador to Moscow Mehdi Sanai who said Yuzik, 34, was providing testimony to Iranian law enforcement agencies and she would be released soon.

Iran’s state-run RIA news agency too said this quoting foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi.

But expressing concern over Yuzik’s arrest, her daughter said her trial was set to open on Saturday.

Yuzik’s ex-husband and journalist Boris Voytsekhovskiy wrote on Facebook that if convicted, she may face up to 10 years in jail.

Iranian authorities took away Yuzik’s passport when she arrived at Imam Khomeini Airport with a promise it will be returned to her before she leaves the country.

On Oct 2, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps burst into her hotel room and accused her of spying for Israeli security services.

The Russian Embassy in Tehran and Voytsekhovskiy separately stated to media about the passport seizure and the Revolutionary Corps’ forced entry into her hotel room.

Yuzik had worked in Iran as a correspondent a few years ago and her visit to the country last week was to meet some journalists.

Iran’s quick response to Russian concerns over the detained journalist may be linked to the warm ties between the two countries.

Other countries are not lucky like Russia.

Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian dual citizen, has been detained in Iran since April 2016 for running a journalism course in Persian to “spread propaganda against Iran.”

Iran has so far ignored the UK’s repeated requests and her husband’s online campaign for her release.