Iran says it has released five Iranian staffers
of the British Embassy in Tehran, days after they were detained for alleged
links to the nation's post-election unrest.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi told a news conference Monday that five of nine arrested were freed, and the remainder are being held for questioning. Earlier reports said eight British Embassy workers had been arrested.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and European Union foreign ministers have demanded that all the staffers be released, calling their detention an unacceptable form of harassment and intimidation.
A report Sunday quoted the nation's intelligence minister, Qolam Hosein Mohseni-Ejei, as saying he has proof that some of the local staffers collected news about the recent protests.
In another development Monday, Iranian state media say the country's top election body has started a partial recount of votes cast in the highly disputed presidential election.
Al-Alam state television says the Guardian Council began the recount of 10% of the ballots cast in the June 12 vote.
Iranian reformist challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi has rejected the partial recount and insists that the results be annulled.
He says there was widespread fraud in the presidential vote, which returned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power.
Iranian officials say 17 people were killed in post-election violence, but witnesses say it is much higher.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
... Payvand News - 06/29/09 ... --