Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Iranian TV: Revolutionary Guard accused diplomats of espionage

Iranian TV: Revolutionary Guard accused diplomats of espionage

Iranian state television on Wednesday said the country’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard had accused the UK’s deputy ambassador and other foreigners in the country of spying and taking land samples from banned military areas.

The country’s state-run IRNA news agency reported that the foreigners were arrested, but did not say when. The British Foreign Secretary quickly denied that his diplomat had been arrested and called the report “completely false”.

Iran’s state television has shown footage pretending to show foreigners collecting samples from the ground while under drone surveillance.

The storm of accusations follows growing tensions over an increase in Tehran’s arrests of foreigners and a rapid progress of its nuclear work, while talks to revive the landmark of the 2015 nuclear deal remain at a standstill. Iran has detained a number of Europeans in recent months, including two French nationals and a Swedish tourist, as it seeks leverage in negotiations.

The report also comes after Iran, in a rare move, replaced the Revolutionary Guard’s longtime intelligence chief.

News outlets reported that the deputy head of mission at the British embassy, ​​Giles Whitaker, and other foreigners faced espionage charges after visiting several forbidden areas in the country while the guard conducted missile tests.

The semi-official Fars news agency, which is believed to be close to the guard, claimed Whitaker was expelled from the area after apologizing to authorities.

The accusations in the Iranian media came when the British public was confronted by the political fortunes of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is under increasing pressure to step down after departing from his cabinet.

State TV aired a photo montage that apparently shows Whitaker touring the southwestern desert and collecting soil samples against the backdrop of ominous music.

“Even though there were signs in that area saying it was a forbidden area, he went further and took a sample and took a photo,” the narrator said. “Intelligence agencies say these people often pose as tourists, but are looking for military and missile sites to identify equipment and ammunition.”

Iranian media have also identified Maciej Walczak, a Polish scientist at Copernicus University in Poland, as one of the accused foreigners. It similarly said he took samples of soil, water and salt from a forbidden area during a missile test in the country’s south.

The report added that the guard’s intelligence wing detained the man from Austria’s cultural attaché in Iran after taking soil samples in the country’s northeast.

Iran has in the past arrested double nationals and those with Western ties, often on charges of espionage that are widely criticized, and used them as bargaining chips in talks on other issues, such as nuclear negotiations. Tehran denies using detainees to further its political goals.

Talks to revive Tehran’s fragmented nuclear deal with world powers have stalled for months. A recent attempt to break the deadlock between US and Iranian negotiators ended in Doha last week without making any progress.

The US special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, described the latest talks in Qatar as “more than a bit of a wasted opportunity.”

“They have, and also in Doha, added demands that I think anyone who looks at this will be seen as having nothing to do with the nuclear deal, things they wanted in the past,” Malley said in an interview. said with National Public. Radio on Tuesday, undermining Tehran’s more upbeat reviews.

He added that the US is working simultaneously to ensure the release of four Americans detained in Iran.

“They were used as pawns,” he said. “But we are looking at steps we can take that will facilitate their return in the shortest possible time.”

Meanwhile, as a shadowy war between Israel and Iran escalates in Tehran and across the Middle East, Iran announced last month that the head of the Guard’s intelligence arm, Hossein Taeb, had been replaced by Gen. Mohammad Kazemi, the former head of the Guard’s security department.

The surprise move followed the deaths of several guard officers in recent weeks.

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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