Britain, France and EU condemn Tehran trial

9th August 2009, Comments 0 comments

Britain and the EU presidency condemned Iran Saturday for putting on trial a French lecturer and Iranian workers at the British and French embassies in the wake of the disputed presidential election.

London - Britain and the EU presidency condemned Iran Saturday for putting on trial a French lecturer and Iranian workers at the British and French embassies in the wake of the disputed presidential election.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the trial in Tehran was the "latest Iranian provocation", while Sweden, which currently holds the European Union presidency, said the trial was an act against the entire 27-nation bloc. France called on Iran to release the French woman, 24-year-old lecturer Clotilde Reiss, and Franco-Iranian Nazak Afshar, who works for the cultural section of the French embassy in Tehran.

Miliband said he was "deeply concerned by the unjustified charges" laid against British embassy employee Hossein Rassam, who he said had been "going about his legitimate duties."

Iranian news agencies reported that Rassam was accused of spying.

Rassam, Afshar and Reiss appeared in a group trial with opposition supporters who challenged the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on 12 June which triggered massive street protests.

Iranian state television said Reiss and Afshar had fuelled the unrest by supplying information to foreign embassies.

Miliband said the trial "only brings further discredit on the Iranian regime."

He said in a statement he had spoken to his counterparts in France and Sweden, and "we have reaffirmed our solidarity in the face of this latest Iranian provocation."

The Swedish EU presidency called the trial of the three an act against the entire EU.

"Actions against one EU country, citizen or embassy staff is considered an action against all of the EU, and will be treated accordingly," the statement said.

"The EU will closely follow the trial and demand that the persons will be released promptly," said the presidency.

Rassam was one of nine locally employed staff at the British embassy arrested soon after the election. Eight were freed, while he was released on bail.

Iran has accused Britain of stoking the post-election demonstrations of supporters of defeated opposition challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi. Britain has strongly denied the claims.

AFP / Expatica

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