Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned Western governments against meddling in his country's domestic affairs.
Ayatollah Khamenei said Monday Iran will respond with an "iron fist" to
foreign powers who try to exploit internal divisions caused by last
month's disputed presidential election.
The ayatollah acknowledged that the re-election of conservative
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad generated anger among the president's
competitors and their supporters. But, the Iranian supreme leader
described the issue as a "family" dispute.
In another development, France says Iran has detained a French academic on spying charges.
The French foreign ministry says the woman was arrested on July 1 as
she was about to leave Iran following a five-month visit. It called on
Iran to release her immediately and allow her to return to France.
Iran's government has accused Western powers such as Britain of
instigating the unrest that followed the June 12 vote. It arrested nine
Iranian employees of the British embassy in Tehran last month before
releasing all but one of them.
London denies the Iranian allegations. The British government says Iran
released the eighth embassy employee Monday, leaving one man in
custody, political analyst Hossein Rassam. It says securing the release
of all embassy staff remains its top priority.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Monday France is in "total
solidarity" with Britain's position on Iran. He criticized Iran's
arrest of the embassy workers as shocking and disproportionate.
Mr. Sarkozy was speaking at a joint news conference with British Prime
Minister Gordon Brown in the French town of Evian. Mr. Brown said
Britain will act together with its European partners in response to
Iran's detention of British embassy staff and expulsion of British
On Sunday, a pro-reform group of Iranian clerics in the northern city of Qom said it considers the presidential election invalid. It accused Iran's top election oversight bodyof failing to adequately investigate complaints of vote rigging filed by defeated candidates.