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8 LOCAL BRITISH EMBASSY STAFF ARRESTED BY IRAN

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Iran has arrested eight local British embassy staff, media reports said Sunday, a move that will further exacerbate strained ties with the West over the post-election turmoil in the Islamic republic.
  • It is the latest retaliatory action against Britain, which Iran has accused of stoking the unrest that swept the country after the disputed election that returned hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power.
  • "Eight members of the local staff at the British embassy who had a considerable role in the recent riots have been arrested," the Fars news agency said without quoting a source.
  • Last week, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki warned that Iran may downgrade ties with Britain, after the two governments expelled diplomats in a tit-for-tat move.
  • Iran has also expelled the BBC correspondent in Tehran and arrested a British-Greek journalist, as well as a number of other British passport-holders it says were involved in rioting.
  • The latest backlash against the West came as opposition leaders in Iran kept up their defiance of the regime, rejecting a panel set up to hold a partial recount of ballots cast in the June 12 vote.
  • Mir Hossein Mousavi, Ahmadinejad's strongest rival, is still insisting on a new vote while another defeated candidate, Mehdi Karroubi, has demanded an independent panel to probe irregularities.
Courtesy: Channel Asia News
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