French student is a spy, Iran says

John Lichfield
Wednesday 08 July 2009 00:00
Comments

France demanded yesterday the immediate release of a 23-year-old student accused by Iran of spying after she took pictures of a street demonstration with her mobile phone.

President Nicolas Sarkozy dismissed the accusations against Clotilde Reiss, from Lille, who was arrested last week as she was about to board a flight leaving Iran.

"These accusations of spying are the height of fantasy and should never have been brought," M. Sarkozy said. "That a French citizen should be kidnapped and held on a so-called charge of espionage is wholly unacceptable." Mlle Reiss, who had been teaching French in Isfahan for five months, was arrested last Wednesday at Tehran airport as she was making her way back to France, via Beirut.

Iranian authorities have brought no formal charges against her. She is believed to be accused of spying after emailing a photograph of a demonstration in Isfahan which followed the disputed Iranian election last month.

The French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, said: "That is not espionage and cannot be so. The accusation is absurd. She was an ordinary young student who was doing her job, who witnessed protests like millions of Iranians." The arrest is the first sign that Iran is ready to extend its attacks on alleged foreign interference beyond Britain. Paris asked yesterday for a united protest by the EU.

Dr Kouchner said France wanted Mlle Reiss's case to be resolved rapidly and did not intend to "make a big issue between two countries out of this".

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in