President Nicolas Sarkozy demanded the liberation of a young French academic detained in Iran and dismissed accusations that she was spying as "high fantasy."
Clotilde Reiss, 23, was arrested last week, as she was about to leave Iran after five months of studying at Isfahan University, and accused of espionage, according to the French Foreign Ministry. "These accusations of espionage are high fantasy," Sarkozy said at a news conference with Brazil's president in Paris on Tuesday. "Kidnapping and holding French nationals under the pretext of espionage, no one can accept this."
Sarkozy said he expects the woman to be released "in a short time" but gave no details.
France's Foreign Ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador on Monday to press its demand her release. Officials have released no other details about her case.
An official at the University of Lille said Reiss received a diploma in political science there in December before heading to Iran earlier this year. The official was not authorized to be publicly named according to university rules.
Sarkozy stressed that he was not questioning the results of Iran's June 12 elections but criticizing the crackdown on protesters who said they were plagued by fraud.
"What we condemn is the violence," Sarkozy said. Sarkozy has been outspoken in criticism of the Iranian authorities' response to days of opposition protests in Iran that left several dead and many people arrested.
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned Western governments on Monday of a "negative impact" on relations over what he called their meddling in Iran's postelection riots.