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Iran Says Paris Ignored Offer To Teacher On Trial

Detained French lecturer Clotilde Reiss defends herself during a hearing in a revolutionary court in Tehran, August 8, 2009.
PARIS (Reuters) -- Iran offered to let a Frenchwoman accused of spying stay in the French embassy during her trial on certain conditions but there was no answer from Paris, the Iranian ambassador to France has said.

The French Foreign Ministry declined to comment.

Clotilde Reiss, 24, a teaching assistant, has been charged with spying and taking part in a Western plot to destabilize the government. She is one of the defendants in a mass trial taking place in Tehran.

Paris says she is innocent and demands her release. Government spokesman Luc Chatel said earlier on August 11 that authorities were hoping that Reiss would soon be freed.

Seyed Mehdi Miraboutalebi, Iran's ambassador in Paris, said also on August 11 that authorities in Tehran had proposed that Reiss be freed from prison and stay at the French embassy during her trial, on condition that the French government commit itself to keeping her there.

"So far we have had no reply from the French ambassador," Miraboutalebi told the French radio station RFI.

The envoy also said that France had been told before the trial not to publicize Reiss's case in the media, or "we will not be able to do anything any more because, as in France, the Iranian judiciary is totally independent."

A solution could have been found "calmly," but the French ignored the advice and were to blame for Reiss's predicament, the ambassador said.

"Unfortunately, our French friends did not have the necessary patience and they claimed that this young lady was totally innocent. In other words, they took the place of the Iranian judges," he said.