Iran General NewsFather: Frenchwoman should leave Iran within weeks

Father: Frenchwoman should leave Iran within weeks

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ImageAP: The father of a French academic on trial in Iran said Monday he hopes she can come home within weeks as the government continued efforts to secure her unconditional release.

The Associated Press

By MARIA DANILOVA

ImagePARIS (AP) — The father of a French academic on trial in Iran said Monday he hopes she can come home within weeks as the government continued efforts to secure her unconditional release.

Clotilde Reiss is one of more than 100 people in a mass trial in Iran on charges linked to postelection protests. The 24-year-old was freed on bail Sunday after a month-and-a-half in an Iranian prison, and must now stay in the French Embassy until the verdict in her case.

Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Monday the French government paid "around euro200,000" ($280,000) in bail, adding he hoped to get the money back.

"Of course we hope to be reimbursed because she is innocent and that will be recognized," Kouchner told LCI television, adding that he wasn't sure when the verdict would be delivered or when Reiss could return to France.

Her father Remi Reiss said on France-Info radio Monday that she "seems in good shape."

"This is what happiness is," Reiss said. "She will be able to regain her freedom and the everyday life that she has missed for a month-and-a-half."

He described her release on bail as a "first step" and expressed hope that she will be fully freed and return to France in the weeks to come.

Reiss and a French-Iranian embassy employee, Nazak Afshar, are accused of fanning a revolt aimed at bringing down Iran's Islamic rulers. Afshar was released from jail last week and was also staying at the French Embassy pending the end of the trial.

The French government dismisses the accusations against the two women as groundless and has lobbied for their release.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has credited the European Union and Syria with helping obtain Reiss' release.

Government spokesman Luc Chatel told reporters Monday that diplomatic negotiations were continuing to secure the two women's full release, including "with our Syrian friends," who played "a very specific role" in this case.

Neither Chatel nor the French Foreign Ministry would provide more details on France's contacts with Syria Monday.

Since taking office in 2007, Sarkozy has worked to bolster ties with Damascus, which is a strong ally of Tehran and is trying to emerge from its diplomatic isolation in the West.

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