Iran: Reiss swap claims untrue

Dec. 23, 2009 at 11:25 AM

TEHRAN, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- An Iranian diplomatic official says Tehran has not offered a prisoner swap in exchange for French teaching assistant Clotilde Reiss.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast told the semi-official Fars news agency Wednesday French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner's claims that such a swap has been offered by Iran are untrue.

Fars said Mehman-Parast denied Kouchner's claims, in which the French diplomat asserted Iran was applying pressure on Paris to exchange Reiss for Ali Vakili Rad, who was sentenced by France to life imprisonment for the 1991 slaying of former Iranian Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar.

"The rights of foreign and Iranian nationals should not be ignored through undiplomatic approaches," Mehman-Parast told Fars.

Reiss' trial on espionage charges resumed Wednesday in Tehran, the news agency reported, quoting her lawyer as saying, "The final part of pleadings concerning the accusations against the French national will be made in the next session of the trial."

Reiss has been jailed since her July 1 arrest.

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