Page last updated at 17:34 GMT, Saturday, 8 August 2009 18:34 UK

Miliband concern over Iran trial

Hossein Rassam
The Foreign Office said Mr Rassam was denied "basic human rights"

Foreign Secretary David Miliband says he is "deeply concerned" over the trial in Iran of a British Embassy worker.

Iranian Hossein Rassam is accused in Tehran of spying and inciting unrest after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election in June.

Mr Miliband said the charges against the embassy's chief political analyst were unjustified and the trial "brings further discredit" on Iran's regime.

Mr Rassam was among the accused at a mass trial which began on Saturday.

Mr Miliband said: "I am deeply concerned by the unjustified charges today laid against Hossein Rassam in Tehran.

"Hossein is a member of our embassy staff going about his legitimate duties.

'Rigged election'

"Iranian action against him, and those against [French teacher] Clotilde Reiss and a member of the staff of the French Embassy in Tehran, only brings further discredit on the Iranian regime.

"Our ambassador has raised our concerns today with the Iranian deputy foreign minister, and the FCO Political Director, Sir Mark Lyall Grant with the Iranian ambassador in London."

Mr Miliband said European nations were united in their opposition to the trial.

We have reaffirmed our solidarity in the face of this latest Iranian provocation
Foreign Secretary David Miliband

He said he was in close contact with members of the EU and had spoken with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and to Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, who is the current EU President.

"We have reaffirmed our solidarity in the face of this latest Iranian provocation," said Mr Miliband.

Mr Rassam was one of nine officials arrested in the wake of the protests against the re-election of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

He was released on bail last month, a move welcomed by the foreign secretary.

Iran has repeatedly accused foreign powers - especially Britain and the US - of stoking up the demonstrations.

Opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi says the vote was rigged in favour of Mr Ahmadinejad.

The president and Iran's main election body, the Council of Guardians, have rejected the charge.

Print Sponsor

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific