Angry UK terms arrest of embassy staff in Iran unacceptable

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London, June 29 (ANI): The Gordon Brown Government in Britain has reacted to the arrest of at least eight Iranians working for the British Embassy in Tehran, calling the move unacceptable "harassment and intimidation".

According to The Times, the eight, who are thought to work in the embassy's political section, are accused of playing a "significant role" in opposition protests.

Their detention has dismayed Western governments. EU foreign ministers demanded the release of the eight and said that intimidation of their diplomatic staff in Tehran would provoke a "strong and collective response".

Sources told The Times that if Britain was forced to close its embassy the 26 other EU states would probably follow suit.

David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, said: "These are hard-working diplomatic staff and the idea that the British Embassy is somehow behind the demonstrations and protests that have been taking place in Tehran in recent weeks is wholly without foundation."

About 2,000 supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the challenger to President Ahmadinejad in the election, have been arrested and hundreds more are believed missing.

The British Embassy employs about 100 Iranians in roles ranging from political advisers, consular officials and translators to security guards. (ANI)

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