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Geopolitics

Why Iran Jailed An Unconventional French-Iranian Academic

Fariba Adelkhah, a French-Iranian expert on Shia society, has critics on all sides. Since June, she's been jailed in Tehran's notorious Evin prison. She and her companion have been on a hunger strike since last month.

Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah
Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah
Marc Semo

PARIS — For years, Fariba Adelkhah has been working and living on the edge, watched over by Iranian security services but still tolerated. This 60-year-old French-Iranian specialist of the Shia world at the Center for International Studies (CIS) at Paris' prestigious Sciences Po university is studying, from an anthropological standpoint, the mutations of the Iranian society under the Islamic Republic. This has always been a highly perilous exercise and is currently an impossible one for a foreign researcher. Women's rights, underprivileged people and cross-border traffic are indeed very sensitive subjects that Iranian authorities don't want investigated.

"Despite the current general opinion, a researcher is not an agent from foreign secret services. Results from their studies varies and the researcher does their work in the light of day," wrote Adelkhah, back in 2009, in an open letter following the arrest of Clotilde Reiss, a French student at the University of Isfahan, accused of taking part in demonstrations against the regime and detained for 10 months in Iran before being sent back to France after the payment of a 230,000 euro fine.

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Coronavirus

The Main COVID Risk Now: Long COVID

Death rates are down, masks are off, but many who have been infected by COVID have still not recovered. Long COVID continues to be hard to diagnose and treatments are still in the developmental stage.

Long COVID feels like a never-ending nightmare for those who suffer from it.

Jessica Berthereau

PARIS — The medical examination took longer than expected in the Parc de Castelnau-le-Lez clinic, near the southern French city of Montpellier. Jocelyne had come to see a specialist for long COVID-19, and exits the appointment slowly with help from her son. The meeting lasted more than an hour, twice as long as planned.

“I’m a fighter, you know, I’ve done a lot of things in my life, I’ve been around the world twice… I’m not saying this to brag, but to tell you my background," says the 40-year-old. "These days, I’m exhausted, I’m not hungry, I no longer drive, I can’t work anymore, I have restless legs syndrome.” She pauses before adding sadly: “I can’t read anymore either.”

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