BBC reporters arrested in Iran on suspicion of espionage

Sunday, December 21, 2008

At least one team of British reporters for the BBC have been arrested in Tehran, Iran. Officials there say the reporters are suspected of spying on Iran and had the assistance of the British embassy in Tehran. A number of other teams are under investigation for espionage.

"Iran’s security agencies have revealed that several BBC reporters intended to engage in espionage in the Islamic Republic of Iran with the support of the UK embassy, said Foreign Policy and National Security Commission of the Iranian parliament member, Muhammad Karim Abedi. He was speaking during an interview on Iran's top news agency, the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA).

Abedi did not say how many were arrested and did not specify any names. He alleges the reporters were staying in a hotel under false names, and were planning to organize groups of people that were not in favor of the practices of the Iranian government. He also alleges that the BBC is not in Iran to report on news events, but are in the country "recruiting individuals for intelligence activities."

"Fortunately, the Iranian intelligence services have arrested one or two teams and a number of other teams are under investigation," added Abedi.

Abedi also said that many other people involved with the espionage plot have been arrested and that authorities are currently searching for more suspects.

So far neither the British government nor the BBC have commented on the incident.