The French President Nicolas Sarkozy has promised to lobby “anyone with influence” to seek the release of a French teacher accused of spying in Iran. Clotilde Reiss is one of a hundred or so defendants being tried for demonstrating against the result of Iran’s election in June.The 24 year old is also accused of helping a Western plot to overthrow the government in Tehran. Local employees of the French and UK embassies are also on trial, prompting the British government to accuse Iran of a human rights “outrage.” But an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said the trials conform to international standards of law, the accused have lawyers, and the hearings are perfectly legal. The French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said: “These allegations are not true. Clotilde Reiss is guilty of nothing. This young woman was there at Ispahan. She did nothing but march with the demonstrators for an hour one time, and for an hour and a half another time.” A senior member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has called for losing presidential candidates to face trial for their role in the post-election protests. Mirhossein Moussavi and other opposition leaders have claimed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stole the election.
Friction between Europe and Iran steps up