Monday, June 29, 2009
Iran has arrested at least eight members of the British embassy staff in Iran, accusing them of stoking the recent protests against the Iranian elections. (Some news reports put the number arrested at nine.) Specifically, the Iranian Intelligence Minister claims to have video showing that the embassy staffers mingled with the protesters to encourage them. The British government has strongly denied the allegations and demanded their immediate release. Five persons have since been released; the rest are still being interrogated. The European Union has joined with Britian in denouncing Iran's actions. Because the staffers were local hires, they do not enjoy full diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The staffers specific titles and positions have not been released. As a result, it is unclear what protection they may be entitled to under international laws of diplomacy. Britian and Iran had already expelled diplomats in tit-for-tat moves last week.