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Iran 'show' trial escalates standoff

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ISTANBUL, TURKEY – Iran escalated its standoff with the West as it put a French academic on trial Saturday and confirmed that it had transferred to Tehran three Americans detained on the Iran-Iraq border.

The trial, which began last Saturday, is targeting the role of foreign powers. Alongside French national Clotilde Reiss in the courtroom were dozens of new defendants, among them reformist politicians and two local workers for the British and French embassies in Tehran. They stand accused of fomenting a "velvet revolution" in the aftermath of the controversial June 12 presidential elections in Iran.

“The focus is now on incriminating Western governments and companies,” says Mehrdad Boroujerdi, the director of Middle East Studies at Syracuse University in New York. “Bringing out the British Embassy worker is part of trying to substantiate their charges and show that this is all part of a Western conspiracy, with Facebook and Twitter playing roles."

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