The French foreign intelligence service DGSE on Monday denied a claim by a former deputy director that the academic Clotilde Reiss had spied for France, the daily Le Monde reported on its website.

“Clotilde Reiss never worked for us,” the DGSE said. “She was never registered as an agent and never presented herself to our services.” Ms. Reiss was put on trial in Iran last year for spying, but released on Sunday.

Former DGSE deputy director Maurice Dufresse on Sunday said on LCI television that she had been a registered spy and had provided France with information about Iranian internal politics and its nuclear programme.

“She worked for France to gather information on internal politics and also on nuclear proliferation,” he said. “She is registered with the DGSE.” After working as a university lecturer in Tehran for five months, Ms. Reiss was arrested in July 2009, as she was trying to leave the country.

She was convicted of briefing the French Embassy on the riots that shook the country after the controversial re—election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Ms. Reiss was released on Sunday and flown back to France.

Mr. Dufresse also said that Ms. Reiss was “honourable,” “courageous,” and “deserved being saluted as someone who did good work.” Mr. Dufresse himself is being sued by French Interior Minister Herve Morin for allegedly divulging national secrets in a recent book, the website Le Point reported on Monday.

In a complaint lodged last month, Mr. Morin accused Mr. Dufresse of violating national defence secrets, breaching professional secrets and revealing the names of protected individuals in his book 25 ans dans les services secrets (25 Years in the Secret Service).

If found guilty on only the first charge, he faces a maximum sentence of seven years in prison and a fine of up to 100,000 euros (123,000 dollars).

Keywords: French lecturer

More In: International | News