Fri, 02 Dec 2022

An Italian woman has been arrested in Iran amid a wave of protests triggered by the death in custody of a young woman detained by morality police for 'improperly' wearing a mandatory headscarf, or hijab.

Anger over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini on September 16 has swept Iran, with demonstrations in cities across the country.

Alessia Piperno's parents told the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero on October 3 that the previous day their daughter informed the family she had been detained after having been out of reach for four days.

The parents said Alessia told them during a short phone call that 'they arrested me, and I am in Tehran prison. Please help.'

Piperno, 30, is a solo world traveler who has been in Iran for 2 1/2 months.

She told her parents that she was unharmed, but added, 'there are people in prison who have been detained for months without any reason.' She told her parents she was worried that she will suffer the same fate.

According to her Instagram page, she was impressed by the courage of the Iranian people. 'This land welcomed me with open arms, and it went straight into my heart,' Il Messaggero quoted Piperno as saying in her latest post.

Iran has repeatedly accused outside forces of stoking the protests and last week said nine foreign nationals -- including from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland -- had been arrested.

Piperno is one of more than a dozen foreign nationals or people with dual Iranian citizenship being held in Iran.

Two French nationals -- 37-year-old Cecile Kohler and her 69-year-old partner, Jacques Paris -- were also recently detained in Iran, accused of seeking to foment labor unrest in the country.

Western countries have repeatedly charged that Iran is trying to take advantage of foreign countries by taking dual and foreign nationals hostage.

The arrest also comes as Iran and world powers negotiations over a revamped version of the 2015 nuclear deal have hit a dead end.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Washington DC 20036

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