AFP: Britain on Wednesday angrily denied “incorrect and irresponsible” claims in the Iranian press that it was stirring up unrest in the oil-rich southwest of the Islamic republic. AFP
TEHRAN – Britain on Wednesday angrily denied “incorrect and irresponsible” claims in the Iranian press that it was stirring up unrest in the oil-rich southwest of the Islamic republic.
“Recent reporting in Iran alleging UK involvement in the explosions and unrest in Khuzestan has ceased to be objective and professional reporting of the facts,” said a furious statement issued by the British embassy in Tehran.
“Instead some papers have been publishing unfounded fantasy. They claim to have evidence, derived from ambiguously named sources, but so far evidence has not been put forward for these allegations,” it said.
A string of reports in the hardline Iranian press have alleged British operatives based in southern Iraq were involved in a series of bombings in Khuzestan province prior to Iran’s presidential elections in June.
The province, dominated by ethnic Arabs, has been the scene of unrest in recent months — and on Wednesday the hardline Kayhan paper said Britain had set aside a budget of 16 million dollars to stir up such ethnic trouble.
The embassy said the claims in Kayhan were “incorrect and irresponsible” and reiterated London’s “condemnation of all terrorist activity and our sympathy for the loss of life that occurred in Ahvaz on 12 June.
“British Forces have not interfered with Iranian domestic affairs and the claimed budget for such activity does not exist. British Forces are not providing any form of assistance to any Khuzestan dissident group in Iraq.”