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Iran frees five arrested British embassy staff

world Updated: Jun 29, 2009 13:52 IST

AFP
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Iran on Monday said it has freed five of the local British embassy staff it arrested on accusations of stoking post-election unrest, a move that further threatened tense ties with London.

“Eight people were arrested. Five were freed and three are still being interrogated,” ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi said at a press conference in Tehran.

Earlier English-language state television Press TV had spoken of a total of nine arrests.

Ghashghavi also said that Iran, which has accused Western nations particularly Britain and the United States of “meddling,” has no current plans to close embassies or downgrade diplomatic ties with foreign nations.

“There is no plan at the moment to close any embassy or downgrade ties with them,” Ghashghavi said when asked if Tehran planned to close the British embassy.

The Fars news agency, announcing the arrests yesterday, said the British embassy staffer were accused of playing a “considerable role” in the unrest that swept Iran after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Intelligence Minister Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie accused the British embassy of sending local staff “undercover among rioters in order to push its own agenda,” the official IRNA news agency reported.