Iran has begun a second mass trial of political detainees, charging
they provoked unrest during demonstrations against the handling of the
country's disputed presidential election.
Those put on trial Saturday included a French woman teacher and an Iranian employee of the British embassy.
Images published by Iranian state news agencies show 24-year-old French lecturerClotilde Reiss seated in the front row of the Tehran courtroom. She is charged with espionage for gathering information about the protests, taking pictures and sending them abroad. IRNA news agency says she confessed her "mistakes."
The British embassy employee, Hossein Rassam, faces similar charges. He also is said to have confessed that he reported news about the unrest to London.
A French embassy employee is also on trial.
Moderates and pro-reformists in Iran have condemned the legal proceedings as "show trials." Human-rights groups say any confessions were produced by harsh interrogation techniques.
The European Union's Swedish presidency expressed concerns about the trials, saying actions against one EU citizen, country or embassy worker is an action against the whole European Union.
The charges against foreigners and embassy workers reflects Iran's attempts to implicate foreign powers, particularly the United States and Britain, in instigating unrest. Authorities in Tehran have portrayed the protests that followed the June presidential election as an attempt to overthrow Iran's Islamic system.
One week ago, more than 100 detainees were brought to court on charges of organizing mass protests and plotting to overthrow the government.
During that trial, several prominent opposition leaders and reformists said they had retracted their original complaints about election fraud.
Iranian authorities have arrested thousands of people in a continuing crackdown on opposition activists and protesters who contend the June 12 ballot was fraudulent, and that official reports of the size of the vote for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were untrue.