Saturday, August 8, 2009

Britain Calls Trial of Embassy Staff an Act of “Provocation” by Iran

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said today Iran is discrediting itself with the trial of a British embassy worker. Hossein Rassam, a 44-year-old political analyst at British embassy in Tehran, was among those paraded in front of a mass trial in Tehran today.

Iranian authorities maintain Rassam was involved in inciting post-election protests in Tehran. But the foreign secretary attacked the charges against Rassam and his co-defendants, including French national Clotilde Reiss.

“I am deeply concerned by the unjustified charges today laid against Hossein Rassam in Tehran,” Miliband said.

“Hossein is a member of our embassy staff going about his legitimate duties.

“Iranian action against him, and those against and a member of the staff of the French Embassy in Tehran only brings further discredit on the Iranian regime.

“Our Ambassador has raised our concerns today with the Iranian deputy foreign minister, and the FCO political director, Sir Mark Lyall Grant, with the Iranian Ambassador in London.”

Miliband said European nations were united in their opposition to the mass trials.

“We are in close contact with our European and other international partners. I have spoken today to French Foreign Minister Kouchner and to Swedish Foreign Minister Bildt in his capacity as EU Presidency.”

“We have reaffirmed our solidarity in the face of this latest Iranian provocation.”

Foreign reporters were barred from today’s proceedings in Tehran but the Iranian media is reporting that Rassam has ‘admitted’ to inciting unrest on the orders of the British government.

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