New concerns about academic jailed in Iran

Daniel McCulloch
·2-min read

Foreign affairs officials will not confirm whether Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert has been moved from a notorious Iranian prison to a secret location.

But the department insists it remains focused on securing her release.

"The government's continuing efforts to secure Dr Moore-Gilbert's release are an absolute priority. We remain focused on her health, wellbeing and safety," a spokesperson told AAP on Monday.

"We do not accept the charges upon which Dr Moore-Gilbert was convicted and want to see her returned to Australia as soon as possible."

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the Australian ambassador to Iran had a consular visit with Dr Moore-Gilbert "a short time ago".

"The reports we have seen are ones which we are seeking further information on," Senator Payne told reporters.

Friends and supporters of Dr Moore-Gilbert are deeply concerned about her welfare.

They have also questioned the government's strategy of "quiet diplomacy" and its claims the case is their highest priority.

"Kylie has been held as a hostage by a foreign government for 774 days and Australia has failed to achieve any meaningful progress in the case," they told AAP.

"It is high time that the Australian government rethinks its strategy. Kylie deserves so much better."

Dr Moore-Gilbert was arrested in Tehran in September 2018.

She is serving 10 years in prison for espionage charges she and the Australian government reject.

There are reports Dr Moore-Gilbert has been moved from Iran's notorious Qarchak prison to an unknown location.

"Our ambassador in Tehran has regular consular access to Dr Moore-Gilbert," the department spokesperson said.

"The government believes the best approach to secure Dr Moore-Gilbert's release is through diplomatic channels. Dr Moore-Gilbert and her family continue to request privacy."