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Iran Resumes Trial Of French Lecturer, No Verdict

Clotilde Reiss in an undated photo released by her family
A French teaching assistant who was arrested in Tehran on spying charges after Iran's disputed election has appeared before a judge, the French Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Clotilde Reiss, who is out of jail on bail and staying at the French Embassy, is accused of taking part in a Western plot to destabilize the Iranian government after the June 12 vote in which hard-line President Mahmud Ahmadinejad was reelected.

"Clotilde Reiss appeared this morning before the judge for a hearing.... The judge had a discussion with our compatriot and did not rule out summoning her for a new hearing," Bernard Valero told reporters at a regular news briefing.

"We wish for Clotilde Reiss's innocence to be recognized and for her to return to France," he said, adding that the young woman was now back at the French Embassy.

She was accompanied during her hearing by a lawyer, the French ambassador and the first secretary at the embassy.

Speaking before the briefing at the French Foreign Ministry, Tehran's chief prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi was quoted as saying by the semiofficial Fars News Agency that Reiss's trial was scheduled to resume today.

Reiss was arrested on July 1 and her trial started in August, when she was put in the dock alongside other accused and shown on Iranian television.

Official media quoted her as admitting to "mistakes" and asking for clemency, but French authorities have rejected the charges against her as baseless.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner last week demanded a formal guarantee from Tehran that Reiss would not be jailed again while awaiting a verdict. Iran rejected the demand.

Reiss, 24, was arrested as she prepared to go home after five months spent working at the University of Isfahan.

The turmoil after Iran's presidential election was the worst in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Iranian authorities deny vote-rigging and portrayed the unrest as a foreign-backed bid to undermine the Islamic state.

-- Reuters