Continuing the campaign against Great Satan 2.0, in a move evocative of the U.S. Embassy hostage crisis three decades ago. "Britain assails Iran over embassy staff detentions," by Karin Laub for the Associated Press, June 28:
Iranian authorities have detained several local employees of the British Embassy in Iran, a move that Britain's foreign secretary Sunday called "harassment and intimidation."
Iranian media reported Sunday that eight local embassy staff were detained for an alleged role in postelection protests, but gave no further details. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the employees were detained Saturday, but did not say how many were taken into custody.
The detentions signaled a further hardening of Iran's stance toward the West which has become increasingly vocal in its condemnation of a crackdown on opposition supporters.
Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi has alleged massive fraud in the June 12 presidential election and says he is the rightful winner, not President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Iran has accused the West of stoking unrest, singling out Britain and the U.S. for alleged meddling. Last week, Iran expelled two British diplomats, and Britain responded in kind. Iran has also said it's considering downgrading diplomatic ties with Britain.
On Sunday, the semi-official Fars news agency reported that eight local employees of the British Embassy in Tehran were detained for what was described as a "significant role" in unrest after the election.
The British Foreign Office says the Tehran embassy has a staff of more than 100, including at least 70 locally-hired Iranians.
Miliband, who is on the Greek island of Corfu for a foreign ministers' meeting, said Britain has lodged a protest with the Iranian authorities over the detentions. He described the step as "harassment and intimidation of a kind that is quite unacceptable."
"The idea that the British Embassy is somehow behind the demonstrations and protests that have been taking place in Tehran. ... is wholly without foundation," he said. The foreign minister said it would an important point of discussion with his EU colleagues.
In London, a Foreign Office spokeswoman, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, said any further harassment of British Embassy employees would be met with "a strong and united EU response."...