Italian woman among foreigners held in Iran: Report

A young Italian woman traveling in Iran was arrested, and jailed in Tehran, a newspaper reported on Monday, days after authorities there said nine foreigners had been held over nationwide protests.

The parents of Alessia Piperno, 30, from Rome, said they lost contact after speaking to her on Wednesday – her birthday – but then received a phone call on Sunday morning to say she was in jail.

“They arrested me. I am in a prison in Tehran. Please help me,” she told them, according to Il Messaggero, Rome’s daily newspaper.

She added: “I’m fine but there are people here who say they have been inside for months and for no reason. I fear I won’t be let out again. Help me.”

At least 92 people have been killed in crackdowns on women-led protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after her arrest by the notorious morality police, the group Iran Human Rights said on Sunday.

Iran has accused outside forces of stoking the nationwide protests, especially the US and Washington’s allies, and on Friday the intelligence ministry said nine foreign nationals – including from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland – had been arrested.

Italy’s foreign ministry has so far made no comment on the identity of the Italian held and did not respond to further requests on Monday about Piperno’s status.

Amnesty Italy tweeted that it hoped the foreign ministry in Rome would do “everything it can” to obtain Piperno’s release.

Her father, Alberto, said that when he spoke to her on Wednesday, she had been planning a birthday picnic with friends from France, Poland and Iran.

Piperno has been travelling the world for the last six years, according to her Instagram account, and had been in Iran for two months, according to the newspaper.