Iran releases French academic accused of spying

PARIS — A young French academic who battled spying charges in Iran for more than 10 months returned to France on Sunday and thanked President Nicolas Sarkozy and other officials for insisting on her innocence and pressing for her release.
Clotilde Reiss, 24, was accused of joining protests, gathering information, taking photos and sending them abroad during unrest that broke out after June's disputed presidential elections in Iran. Her support committee said she was targeted for an innocuous e-mail to friends describing the events unfolding around her.
Reiss was convicted of provoking unrest and spying, but her lawyer said the 10-year jail term was commuted to a fine of 3 billion rials ($300,000). He said he paid the fine Saturday.
Reiss was arrested July 1 and jailed after attending a post-election demonstration at the end of a five-month teaching job in the city of Isfahan. She was released on bail after a month and a half in Iran's dreaded Evin prison, but only on condition that she stay at the French Embassy in Tehran until her trial was over.