AP: Iran’s former senior nuclear negotiator has been charged with passing classified information to foreigners, including the British Embassy, the Iranian intelligence minister said Wednesday, according to the official IRNA news agency. The Associated Press
By ALI AKBAR DAREINI
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Iran’s former senior nuclear negotiator has been charged with passing classified information to foreigners, including the British Embassy, the Iranian intelligence minister said Wednesday, according to the official IRNA news agency.
Hossein Mousavian, the top negotiator under reformist former President Mohammad Khatami, was briefly detained in May, again on suspicion of espionage, according to the semiofficial Fars news agency.
“He has been informed of the charges that he has given the British Embassy information contrary to the security of the country,” IRNA quoted Intelligence Minister Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi as saying.
There was no word on when his trial would begin.
“From the viewpoint of the Intelligence Ministry, he is a criminal. … This is definite and provable. But the decision (on the case) rests with the judge,” Ejehi said, according to Fars.
On Monday, hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blasted critics of his nuclear policies as “traitors” and accused them of spying for Iran’s enemies, using his strongest rhetoric yet against domestic opponents and raising concerns of a possible crackdown.
But Ejehi named Mousavian directly, saying “influential persons have called the judge and tried to get him (Mousavian) acquitted.”
Ahmadinejad has moved to exert greater control over the nuclear issue, replacing Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, with a close loyalist, Saeed Jalili a step that angered even some conservative politicians.
The president has long faced domestic criticism that he was failing to improve the worsening economy, and has needlessly worsened the nuclear standoff with the West with his inflammatory speeches.
Mousavian’s successor, Hasan Rowhani, delivered an unusually sharp rebuke to Ahmadinejad last month, saying he was making more enemies for Iran with his policies.
Iran’s refusal to suspend uranium enrichment has been the main trigger for existing U.N. sanctions and the threat of new ones.
Iran, which says it has a right to enrich to generate power, has repeatedly said it will not mothball its program.