The Islamic Republic says it has arrested several French "intelligence agents" in relation to the ongoing antigovernment rallies, reiterating claims of foreign involvement in protests.
Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi told state TV on Wednesday, "People of other nationalities were arrested in the riots, some of whom played a big role. There were elements from the French intelligence agency and they will be dealt with according to the law."
Islamic Republic is outraged over Paris voicing solidarity with Iranian protesters and dissidents. Last week, President Emmanuel Macron met Iranian female activists and hailed the protests as a “revolution”.
Since the beginning of the current wave of protests, ignited by the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, the Islamic Republic has accused several Western countries of stoking nationwide protests.
Last week, France's Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said a total of seven French nationals were detained in Iran.
In early October, France accused the Iranian regime of “dictatorial practices” after Iran’s state TV aired the forced confessions of two French nationals arrested in the Middle Eastern country ruled by its 83-year-old anti-West ruler, Ali Khamenei.
Human rights organizations accuse Iran of a systematic policy of hostage taking over four decades from the earliest period of the Islamic Republic after the ouster of the Shah, starting with the 1979-1981 siege at the US embassy in Tehran.
Tehran denies any policy of hostage taking and insists all foreigners are arrested and tried according to legal process. However, it has frequently shown readiness for prisoner exchanges and participated in swaps in the past.