University of Melbourne lecturer detained in Iranian jail
A UNIVERSITY of Melbourne lecturer who studied Middle Eastern politics has been named as the third Australian detained in an Iranian jail.
Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert has been detained in Iran for a year, according to Manoto TV, a London-based Persian language television station.
Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne told Parliament this week the third woman had been detained for a number of months.
The family of Dr Moore-Gilbert issued a statement this afternoon which said that they "believe that the best chance of securing Kylie's safe return is through diplomatic channels".
"We have been and continue to be in close contact with the Australian Government," the statement read.
"Our family thanks the Government and the University of Melbourne for their ongoing support at this distressing and sensitive time.
"We will not be making any further comment and would like to request that our privacy - and that of our wider family and friends - is respected at this time."
Manoto TV first named Australian travellers Jolie King and Mark Firkin as those who were arrested 10 weeks ago for flying a drone in Iran.
News Corp has contacted the University of Melbourne for comment but was yet to receive a response or formal identity confirmation.
The government declined to comment after Senator Payne said earlier this week that the government had been pressing Iranian authorities for the release of the three Australians.
"This is a matter of deep concern to the government, to me personally as foreign minister and, I note, to the people of Australia," she said.
"I know I join others ... in saying that we, too, hope for a speedy return for these Australians from Iran."
Dr Moore-Gilbert, who graduated with honours from Britain's University of Cambridge in 2013, has been a specialist in Middle Eastern studies.
Pouria Zeraati, editor in chief of Manoto TV, said on Saturday morning Australian time that sources had confirmed to him that "the third Australian-British imprisoned in Iran is Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert."
"She was arrested in summer 2018 & currently serving 10 years' jail sentence based on unknown charges, issued by Islamic Republic judiciary," he wrote on Twitter.
"Dr Moore-Gilbert reportedly being held in solitary confinement.
"Similar to Jolie King and Mark Firkin's case, it is not clear what the Islamic Republic wants out of this arrest, as no-one from the Judiciary or Intelligence Services has made any comment on this."
The University of Melbourne's website lists Dr Moore-Gilbert as an expert in Islamic Studies, Middle Eastern History, and Middle Eastern Studies."
Her most recent project was "Iran's relationship with Bahrain's Shi'a after the Arab Uprisings."
She completed her doctorate at the University of Melbourne in 2017.
Dr Moore-Gilbert was also a member of the International Political Science Association and Association for Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Studies.
She was also a member of the Australian Political Studies Association and the Australian Association of Islamic and Muslim Studies.
Dr Moore-Gilbert offers an insight into the tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia in the interview for a channel called The Modern Middle East.
"It's very complex. It goes back to the Iranian revolution. It goes back to both states claim to be an Islamic State and the bearers of political Islam," she said in the October 2017 interview.
"I don't want your viewers to think its a religious conflict, it's a political rivalry first and foremost."
Dr Moore-Gilbert then details her views on Donald Trump's dealings with Saudi Arabia when he came to power.
Dr Moore-Gilbert's email out of office was on when News Corp sent a message this morning.
"Thank you for your email. I'm currently out of the office and will not be responding to inquiries," the reply read.