France told US 'make a noise' over Iran hostages: WikiLeaks

2nd December 2010, Comments 0 comments

French officials advised their US counterparts that the best way to secure the release of its citizens held in Iran was to "make a noise", according to a cable released by WikiLeaks and published Wednesday.

"Silence will not settle anything," a senior French government official and a presidential advisor were quoted as telling a US diplomat in a telegram in 2009.

The arrest of foreigners was "a typical Iranian tactic: taking hostages for political blackmail," they said.

"Make noise," they said, advising the use in the media of words such as "fundamental human rights", "innocence" and "immediate release."

Iran was at the time holding French academic Clotilde Reiss, who was accused of spying and spent six weeks in prison in Iran and was then confined to the French embassy before being allowed to return home in May 2010.

Also in 2009, Iran arrested three US hikers it accused of spying. Two of them are still being held.

According to other leaked cables, Paris assured Washington that Reiss's release was not due to an exchange of Iranians detained in France.

Officials also said it was not clear if Syria had played any role in her release. "Of course, we do not know if Syria did anything. But we thanked them all the same," French strategic affairs advisor Francois Richier wrote in one cable.

"That should at least sow confusion among the Iranians," he said.

© 2010 AFP

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