French teacher home after Iran trial

A French teacher put on trial in Iran on charges of spying has been welcomed back to Paris by senior officials.

A jail term imposed on Clotilde Reiss was commuted to a large fine.

She was among thousands of people detained during widespread post-election unrest last year. She had been in Iran working at a local university.

Speaking at the presidential palace in the French capital, Reiss told reporters: “I would like to pay tribute to the inmates I was with during a month and a half in the Evin prison, who treated me like their sister.

“And my thoughts are particularly with two men who were executed in January this year, who were sitting beside me on the day of the public trial, which you saw on the television. My thoughts are with them because I was so devastated by what happened to them. So, today, free in my country, my thoughts are with them.”

Reiss’ release comes just weeks after France refused to extradite to the US an Iranian engineer accused of illegally buying equipment for military use. Also, an Iranian serving life in a French prison for murdering an ex-Iranian prime minister is due to be paroled and sent home on Tuesday.

But French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said: “There is no connection between these two Iranian cases, which were dealt with by the French justice system, and the freedom of our hostage. I would simply like to say there was no horse trading.”