Foreign Diplomats, Including UK Envoy, Arrested For Spying In Iran: Report

Iran mentioned they had been accused of “entering the country to sow chaos and destabilise society”.


Iran’s Revolutionary Guards arrested a number of international diplomats together with a Briton, accusing them of “spying”, the Fars information company and state tv mentioned Wednesday.

“The Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence service identified and arrested diplomats from foreign embassies who were spying in Iran,” Fars mentioned, including {that a} British diplomat was later from the nation.

State tv nevertheless reported that the Briton, recognized as Giles Whitaker, was from “the area” the place the diplomats had been arrested in central Iran.

Details together with the nationality of the opposite diplomats, what number of had been arrested and the date of arrest weren’t instantly clear.

State tv accused the British diplomat of “carrying out intelligence operations” in areas had been navy manoeuvres had been carried out. Video confirmed photographs of a person introduced as Whitaker talking in a room.

Whitaker has been deputy head of mission to Tehran since 2018.

A state TV journalist mentioned the diplomat “was among those who went to the Shahdad desert with his family as tourists”, referring to an space in central Iran.

“As the images show, this person took photos… in a prohibited area where at the same time a military exercise was taking place,” the broadcaster mentioned.

He “was from the area after apologising”, state TV mentioned, although the Fars company mentioned “he was from the country after apologising”.

– Belgian case –

The information comes amid tensions as Iran and world powers wrestle to agree on a return to a 2015 nuclear deal.

It additionally comes as Belgium’s parliament on Wednesday authorized a controversial prisoner-swap treaty with Iran in a primary studying of a textual content that also needs to be submitted to a full vote to be ratified.

Belgian Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne on Tuesday informed MPs that except the treaty was adopted, “the threat to our Belgian interests and certain Belgian citizens will increase”.

A Belgian humanitarian assist employee was seized in Iran on February 24 and has been in detention since, Quickenborne informed MPs.

MPs and the Belgian man’s household recognized him as Olivier Vandecasteele, 41.

Rights teams and media shops protecting Iran mentioned it gave the impression to be one other case of Tehran grabbing hostages to alternate for Iranians incarcerated within the West.

Several are held in Evin, in a wing run by the intelligence service of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Among them is a Swedish tutorial who additionally holds Iranian citizenship, Ahmadreza Djalali, who taught at a Brussels college. Iran additionally utilized “espionage” expenses to Djalali and has sentenced him to loss of life.

Belgium final yr convicted and imprisoned an Iranian diplomat for 20 years for plotting a bomb assault outdoors Paris in 2018.

– French couple –

Also Wednesday Iran accused a French couple detained in May whereas on vacation of allegedly “undermining the security” of the nation, the judicial authority mentioned.

French lecturers’ union official Cecile Kohler and her associate Jacques Paris had been arrested in early May whereas on Easter trip sightseeing within the Islamic republic. They are accused by the authorities of looking for to stir labor protests.

The pair stand “accumulation of association and collusion with the aim of undermining the security of the country”, judiciary and Massoud Setayeshi informed reporters in Tehran.

Iran mentioned they had been accused of “entering the country to sow chaos and destabilise society”.

The French authorities has condemned their arrest as “baseless” and demanded their fast launch.

Last month Amnesty International known as on the British authorities to research Iran’s six-year detention of twin nationwide Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, denouncing it as “an act of hostage-taking”.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 43, who was first detained in Iran in 2016, returned to Britain in March together with fellow twin nationwide Anoosheh Ashoori after London agreed to pay a longstanding debt to Tehran.

Amnesty has compiled an in depth evaluation of the case, which it says contains “compelling evidence that Iran’s detention of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe amounted to an act of hostage-taking”.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)

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