Source: NYTimesIran Cleric Says British Embassy Staff to Stand Trial
By ALAN COWELL and STEPHEN CASTLE
Published: July 3, 2009
PARIS Brushing aside British and European efforts to seek the release of local British Embassy staff members held in Tehran, the Iranian authorities indicated Friday that they planned to put some of them on trial a move that could deepen a crisis in diplomatic relations with the European Union and provoke the withdrawal of ambassadors.
News reports on Friday quoted Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the head of the influential Guardian Council and an ally of Irans supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as telling worshipers at Friday Prayers in Tehran that the local employees would be tried after they made confessions. Ayatollah Jannati did not say how many of the British detainees would be tried or what charges they would face, news reports said. Reuters quoted him as saying, In these developments their embassy here maintained a presence in which individuals were arrested and inevitably they will be tried as they have made confessions.
The idea of British Embassy staff members on trial recalled some of the images in 2007 when Iranian television paraded some of 15 captured British sailors making what were called confessions that they had entered Iranian territorial waters illegally.
I personally think the Iranians would prefer to expel British embassy staff rather than put them on trial. Might be interesting to see how this plays out.