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Sun 5 Jul 2009 12:09 PM

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Iran charges British Embassy employee over protests

Lawyer says local staff member charged with threatening national security.

Iranian authorities have charged an employee of the British Embassy in Tehran with threatening national security, his lawyer said, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Hossein Rassam, a senior political adviser of the British Embassy “has been accused of endangering national security,” lawyer Abdolsamad Khorramshi said on Sunday.

Rassam is currently being detained by authorities. It is not clear when his trial will start, Khorramshi said.

Iran’s leadership stepped up its accusations that the US and UK incited protests which rocked Tehran following the landslide re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on June 12.

Nine local staff of the British embassy were arrested last week on allegations they were involved in the demonstrations - the largest since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

As many as 20 people died during the rallies, according to state-run media.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets in support of the moderate candidate Mirhossein Mousavi, who has said the vote was rigged and repeatedly called for its annulment.

David Miliband, the UK Foreign Secretary, said Britain was “confident that our staff have not engaged in any improper or illegal behavior.”

Meanwhile, the 27-member European Union summoned Iranian ambassadors after a senior cleric said at Friday prayers that some of the embassy employees would be put on trial.

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