Iranian authorities arrest eight British embassy employees in Tehran
By Borzou Daragahi, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
5:15 AM PDT, June 28, 2009
Dubai, United Arab Emirates -- Iranian authorities arrested eight local employees of the British embassy in Tehran, accusing them of "playing major parts" in the recent unrest over a presidential election, the semi-official Fars news agency reported today. The move comes amid deteriorating relations between Iran and the West in the wake of a crackdown against Iranians opposed to the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Though the atmosphere in Tehran's streets has calmed, the aftershocks of the disputed election continue. All eight British embassy employees arrested were members of its political section. Authorities with a search warrant detained at least one of the embassy staffers at his home Saturday morning. Authorities brought him back to his apartment later in the evening and seized computers and documents. British foreign secretary David Miliband condemned what he described as the arrest and continued detention of "hardworking" embassy staff. "This is harassment and intimidation of a kind that is quite unacceptable," he said in a BBC interview. "We want to see (them) released unharmed."
Iranian authorities have also targeted local staffers of the United Nations. At least one was arrested after she was photographed flashing a supportive "V" signal with her fingers during a rally in support of Ahmadinejad's challenger, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, in front of the U.N.'s Tehran offices.