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Asia-pacific

Tehran to release eighth British embassy worker; one still detained

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Latest update : 2009-07-06

One of two British embassy employees still detained by Iranian authorities is to be released, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband told the BBC on Sunday. Tehran detained nine local staff members for their alleged role in post-election violence.

AFP - Iran is to release an eighth Iranian employee of the British embassy in Tehran later on Sunday, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said, bringing to one the number still in custody.
   
"There have been developments overnight in respect of the eighth person who had been arrested," Miliband said.
   
"I spoke to our ambassador on our daily call last night and the good news is that he was told by the (Iranian) deputy foreign minister that the eighth person would indeed be released today, that the papers have been signed and that there would not be a court process or charges.
   
"That leaves one more in custody and all of our efforts are now directed towards getting that person out," added the foreign secretary, speaking on BBC television.
   
Miliband said the international community is united in its opposition towards "intimidation" from Tehran, which arrested a total of nine local embassy staff on June 28 in the wake of Iran's presidential elections.
   
Seven were later released.
   
Tehran has also expelled two British diplomats from Iran, as it pointed an accusing finger at London for stirring up the unrest that erupted over the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
   
The president's rivals say his victory was fraudulent and marred by widespread irregularities.
   
On Friday, EU member states summoned Iranian ambassadors in their capitals in protest at the detention of the Iranians working for the British embassy, who do not enjoy diplomatic immunity.
   
On the same day, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, head of Iran's powerful Guardians Council, said that some local British embassy staff would be put on trial for their alleged role in stoking violence after the June 12 vote.
   
Miliband said Sunday: "What is significant is that the whole of the European Union and the international community has been absolutely united in saying that there is no place for this sort of intimidation or harassment -- and that there will be consequences if it continues."

Date created : 2009-07-05

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