Judiciary confirms Iran has detained 3 Australians

Clay Curtis
September 19, 2019

Iran's judiciary on Tuesday confirmed detention of three Australians on suspicion of "spying", Tasnim news agency reported.

"The court will decide whether this person (detained for spying) is guilty or not", he saidi.

He said the third, believed to be Cambridge-educated academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert from the University of Melbourne, faces charges of spying for another country.

The comments mark Tehran's first official confirmation that Australians had been detained in Iran after the families of two Australian nationals and a British-Australian said last week they had been arrested.

It is unclear from official sources in Iran when the three Australians were arrested and where they are being held.

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Travel blogging couple Jolie King and Mark Firkin were detained in Iran for presumably flying a drone and taking pictures and video near a military facility. Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne said that the government had been working on securing their release for more than a week.

She has reportedly been sentenced to a 10-year jail term at Tehran's notorious Evin prison.

Australia said final week it used to be pressing Iran to free these held.

Later, the third Australian was identified by her family as Melbourne University lecturer Kylie Moore-Gilbert who specializes in Middle Eastern politics with a focus on Gulf states.

There is a long history of foreigners and dual-nationals being arrested in Iran as possible bargaining chips with Western governments.

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