August 8, 2009 / 7:29 AM / 10 years ago

Iran puts French woman on trial

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran put on trial a French citizen and a local employee of the French embassy in Tehran on Saturday following the country’s disputed June presidential election, the semi-official Fars news agency said.

“Among those tried today are a French woman accused of collecting information and provoking rioters and also a local female French embassy staff person,” Fars reported.

French citizen Clotilde Reiss, held in Tehran’s Evin Prison, was arrested at Tehran airport on July 1 on charges of espionage when leaving the country after spending five months as a French language teaching assistant in the central city of Isfahan.

France has rejected the charge against Reiss as “baseless” and French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called for her immediate release.

The French Foreign Ministry said on July 15 that a French-Iranian woman, working for its embassy in Tehran, had been detained for three days by the Iranian authorities.

She was not identified by name and the reason for her arrest was not revealed.

Iran on Saturday put more prominent moderates on trial in connection with the unrest that erupted after the country’s disputed June presidential election, Iranian media reported.

The June 12 vote has plunged the Islamic state into its biggest internal crisis since the 1979 Islamic revolution and exposed deepening divisions in its ruling elite.

Some 100 moderates were tried last Saturday for various charges including acting against national security, which is punishable by the death penalty under Iran’s Islamic law.

Editing by Michael Roddy

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