EghtesadOnline: The Foreign Ministry condemned France's summoning of Iranian envoy over the case of two French detainees in Iran, describing it as "interventionist".
The French Foreign Ministry summoned Iran's ambassador on Friday to demand the release of French citizens being held in Iranian jails after one of them, Franco-Iranian researcher Fariba Adelkhah, reportedly began a hunger strike.
"He [the Iranian envoy] was reminded of France's demand that Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal be released without delay and that the Iranian authorities show total transparency over their situation," it said in a statement.
"As president [Emmanuel Macron] and foreign minister [Jean-Yves Le Drian] have said on several occasions, their imprisonment is intolerable," it asserted, according to Financial Tribune.
The ministry also expressed "extreme concern" about the situation of Adelkhah who has stopped eating and reiterated its request for consular access to her that has been refused so far.
"The statement by the French Foreign Ministry about an Iranian national is an interventionist move and its demand [for her release] lacks legal grounds," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi was quoted as saying by ISNA on Sunday.
He explained that Adelkhah is an Iranian national that has been arrested on charges of "espionage" and her lawyer is informed of the details of her dossier.
Her Iranian nationality has been cited by Iran as the reason for denying her consular access.
Adelkhah was arrested in June along with Marchal, her colleague at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, who is accused of "collusion against national security".
Mousavi said Marchal, unlike Adelkhah, has had consular access several times and his lawyer has been briefed about his accusations and is in close contact with the judiciary.
"Propaganda cannot hinder the review of these cases by Iran's Judiciary, especially with regard to the security charges made against these two individuals," he said.
The dispute over the detainees comes amid France's recent efforts to defuse tensions between Iran and the United States over the 2015 nuclear deal that Washington abandoned last year.
Under severe pressure from the US, Iran also began to gradually step away from the nuclear deal in May, announcing it will continue the process until Europe meets its pledges to make up for American sanctions.
Macron sought in September to broker a meeting between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, but the effort faltered.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had earlier said, "Today [mediation efforts are] a little on withdrawal, insofar as we have French people who are imprisoned."