Clotilde Reiss, a young French woman who taught French at the University of Isfahan, was stopped by the police in Tehran on July 1. A close friend of hers responds to accusations calling Reiss a spy.
Marina El Khoury graduated from the Institut d’Etudes Politique in Lille the same year as Clotilde Reiss. The 23-year-old Lebanese woman has set up a Facebook group asking for her friend’s release.
Coltilde was supposed to take a flight to Beirut last Thursday to see friends and visit my family. When she didn’t call on Thursday, we got worried. I called the French embassy in Tehran to ask what was going on, but they didn’t know.
I spoke to Clotilde’s father, who said that she had been able to speak to some French diplomats and seemed to be in good health. She speaks Farsi, which helps enormously with interrogators.
The accusations that she is a spy are ridiculous. Iranians authorities have said that she took photos and sent them abroad. Which isn’t true — we have never received photos from her. It seems that she simply forgot to delete the photos of some demonstrations that she had on her camera, and so they seized them at the airport.
The only thing she did was send emails to her family and friends during the demos. She wasn’t saying anything more than was already being talked about in the media. She was just reassuring us that she was all right.
All this is just nasty political scheming. They have already arrested Americans and Britons, they needed a French person as well. They are looking for ways to put pressure on. The foreign affairs ministry thought at first that they had sorted out the affair quietly themselves. But it didn’t work and that’s why they told the media about it.
Clotilde went to Iran to perfect her Farsi and because she loves the country, its culture and its people. After setting up the Facebook page, I’m now looking for other things I can organise to support her.