08/17/2009, 00.00
IRAN
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Tehran releases Reiss, shuts down Karroubi’s newspaper

Iran’s Islamic regime sends more contradictory signals. French teacher is released but must stay at her country’s embassy until the end of her trial. Another 28 people are put on trial for their participation in street protests. Ahmadinejad announces three women in his cabinet, a first in the history of the Islamic Republic.
Beirut (AsiaNews) – Iran is still sending contradictory signals to the world. In a sign of what might be continued in-fighting among the country’s leaders, news came that Clotilde Reiss, a French teacher accused of espionage, was released on bail, that pro-reform Mehdi Karroubi’s newspaper was shut down and that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was planning to appoint three women to his cabinet.

Ms Reiss was released from prison but cannot leave the country until a verdict is reached in her trial. The announcement was made last night after bail for an unspecified amount was paid. The French teacher will stay at the French Embassy in Tehran till the end of her trial. She was arrested for taking part in a demonstration against the outcome of the June presidential elections and preparing a report on the event. All indications suggest that she will be eventually expelled from the country rather than be handed over to Iranian authorities if she is found guilty.

The Reiss affair is also a sign of better relations between Paris and Damascus. French President Sarkozy was in fact keen to thank Syria, Iran’s main ally, for helping France on this matter.

Yesterday in Tehran it was announced that another 28 people will stand trial for their participation in demonstrations.

Also Saham News, the website of Etemad-e Melli (National Confidence), a newspaper close to reform leader Mehdi Karroubi, said on Monday that the daily was shut down temporarily by Tehran prosecutor Sunday night.

However, speaking on Monday Mortazavi said the newspaper “has not been shut down.” Instead he claimed the daily “was not distributed on Monday following problems in its printing-office.”

Also on Sunday in an unprecedented move Iranian President Ahmadinejad announced that he plans to appoint at least three women to his next cabinet, the first time women would be in a position of government responsibility since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Ahmadinejad told the IRIB news agency that Marzieh Dastjerdi and Fatemeh Ajorlu would be named to the ministries of health and welfare respectively. The President added that a third woman minister would be named on Wednesday. (PD)

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