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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 October, 2003, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
'Two confess' to embassy attacks
More shots at the British embassy in Tehran have been reported
The embassy was attacked three times in September
Two men have confessed to a spate of shootings at the British embassy in Iran last month, the Iranian intelligence minister has said.

Nobody was hurt in the three attacks, but the embassy was closed to the public and many staff were sent home.

Minister Ali Yunesi said the attacks were by two "thugs and adventurers", not part of any political organisation, who are now in custody.

Earlier, the Foreign Office welcomed news that some arrests had been made.

"These individuals are not affiliated to any organisations or bodies and their action was based purely on adventurism," Mr Yunesi was quoted as saying on Iranian television.

"They are thugs motivated by the search for thrills."

No further details were given about who the men are, or when they might be put on trial.

These individuals are not affiliated to any organisations or bodies and their action was based purely on adventurism
Iranian intelligence minister Ali Yunesi
Three shootings were carried out in less than two weeks at the embassy in the capital Tehran in September.

Embassy staff and eyewitnesses said the attacks were carried out by two men on a motorbike.

In one of the attacks, a volley of bullets penetrated the windows of the main embassy office building while staff were at work.

The city centre embassy was later attacked a second time, and the residential compound further north was also targeted.

Since then more than half of the UK-based embassy staff have left, and the embassy has been closed to the Iranian public.

Following a brief statement on Friday that an unspecified number of suspects had been arrested, a UK Foreign Office spokesman said: "We welcome this and look forward to further developments."

Tension

No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which came amid tension between London and Tehran over the arrest in the UK of a former Iranian diplomat.

The diplomat, Hade Soleimanpour, was detained last month in connection with the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community centre in Argentina in which 85 people died.

The embassy may not be in a hurry to encourage staff to return unless it's absolutely sure they won't be at risk
The BBC's Jim Muir
Mr Soleimanpour was Iran's ambassador to Argentina at the time of the bombing. He denies any involvement in it.

An Argentine judge issued an arrest warrant for him following a lengthy investigation.

He is currently free on bail while a London court considers Argentina's extradition request.

The BBC correspondent in Tehran, Jim Muir, says Iranian anger could be stirred again later this month when the case returns to Bow Street magistrates court in London.

The British authorities will not be in a hurry to encourage embassy staff to return unless they are absolutely sure they will not be at risk, he said.




SEE ALSO:
Embassy attack arrests welcomed
04 Oct 03  |  Middle East
Fresh shooting at UK Iran compound
15 Sep 03  |  Middle East
More shots at UK Iran embassy
09 Sep 03  |  Middle East
Shots close UK Iran embassy
03 Sep 03  |  Middle East
Timeline: UK-Iran relations
03 Sep 03  |  Middle East


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