AFP: Iran arrested last month two German diplomats for allegedly having a hand in recent rioting, state television said on Wednesday, quoting a top official. By Farhad Pouladi
TEHRAN (AFP) — Iran arrested last month two German diplomats for allegedly having a hand in recent rioting, state television said on Wednesday, quoting a top official.
"Two German diplomats using fictitious names of Yogi and Ingo were arrested," during the Shiite commemoration of Ashura, the website of state television quoted an unnamed deputy intelligence minister as saying.
The report did not specify whether the diplomats were still in detention.
A spokesman for the German embassy in Tehran told AFP he "cannot comment" on the reports of arrests.
A separate report by ISNA news agency quoted the deputy minister as saying "Yogi and Ingo were the two German diplomats whose role in the Ashura incidents has been established by the Islamic Republic of Iran."
The official said Iran will "diplomatically protest to the German embassy in Tehran through the foreign ministry."
He also claimed that unidentified German diplomats had set up a network of young Iranian men and women to collect information on events in Iran, adding that members of this network had also been arrested.
"This network was affiliated to the German intelligence service" and its members were "connected to German diplomats through one woman … who took part in private parties held by diplomats and who used to exchange information on a daily basis," the official said.
"The pictures of contacts made between the German diplomats and these youngsters are available. The German embassy and the ambassdor should be answerable to these unconventional activities of his staff."
Earlier on Wednesday, the official IRNA news agency reported that the deputy minister said "the riots on this day were pre-planned and the 'current of sedition,' anti-revolutionaries and the network affiliated to Western intelligence services were involved."
The authorities use the words "current of sedition" to describe the anti-government protest movement.
According to IRNA, the deputy minister said a close advisor of main opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi was identified and arrested and had "confessed that he was a spy."
"Available evidence and this person's confessions show that he was connected through a point man to the intelligence service of a European country and was releasing confidential information," IRNA quoted the deputy as telling reporters.
A few days after the Shiite commemoration, Iranian officials revealed that they had detained a Swedish diplomat for 24 hours on the day of Ashura.
And earlier this month Tehran's chief prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said a German citizen was detained and later freed, apparently in connection with the Ashura riots.
At least eight people were killed in Iran when crowds of demonstrators launched protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in what turned into the bloodiest showdown between them and security forces since initial post-election unrest in June.
A police website reported earlier this month that more than 40 people had been arrested on the basis of tip-offs after police circulated photographs of demonstrators of Ashura rioters.
Iranian authorities say several hundred people were rounded up on the day, without giving a precise figure. A small number of them have since gone on trial, according to newspaper reports.