We were extremely concerned to learn that Benjamin Brière was sentenced today to eight years in prison for ?spying? and eight months for ?propaganda? against the regime. This completely groundless sentence is unacceptable.
Mr. Brière was arrested while traveling in Iran as a tourist. Our Embassy maintains regular contact with him in keeping with the right to consular protection set forth in the Vienna Convention of April 24, 1963; his last consular visit was on January 17. Mr. Brière appeared before a court in Mashhad on January 20. We are in constant touch with his family and his lawyer, and continue to monitor the situation of our compatriot ? who has decided to file an appeal ? with the utmost attention.