Iran sentences British Council worker to 10 years for spying for UK

The British Council is the British cultural agency abroad. (AFP/File)
Updated 13 May 2019
0

Iran sentences British Council worker to 10 years for spying for UK

LONDON: Iran said on Monday it had sentenced an Iranian woman to 10 years prison for spying for Britain, as tension rises between Tehran and some Western countries over its nuclear and missile programs.
“An Iranian who was in charge of Iran desk in the British Council and was cooperating with Britain’s intelligence agency... was sentenced to 10 years in prison after clear confessions,” Gholamhossein Esmaili, a judiciary spokesman, said on the state television.
Esmaili said the woman was in charge of projects for “cultural infiltration” in Iran. He did not identify her, but said she was a student in Britain before being recruited by the British Council.
Esmaili said the woman had been in custody for almost a year. He did not specify whether she held British nationality.
The British Foreign Office did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment. The British Council is Britain’s cultural agency overseas.
The arrest of Iranians accused of espionage has increased since Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said last year there had been “infiltration” of Western agents in the country.
Iran has been increasingly at odds with Western countries since the United States withdrew from a deal Tehran signed with global powers to curb its nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions.
Britain is a signatory to the nuclear deal. Like other European signatories, it supports maintaining the deal.
The United States has ratcheted up sanctions against Iran this month, revoking waivers that had permitted some countries to continue buying Iranian oil. Tehran has responded by reducing curbs on its nuclear program, although steps it has taken so far stop short of violating the agreement.


Iraq must not be dragged into another regional war: president

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May shakes hands with Iraq’s President Barham Salih in London, Britain June 25, 2019. (The Presidency of the Republic of Iraq Office/Reuters)
Updated 25 min 37 sec ago
0

Iraq must not be dragged into another regional war: president

  • ‘We cannot afford our country to be dragged into conflict’
  • Saleh said Baghdad’s priority was ‘stability’

LONDON: Iraqi President Barham Salih said Wednesday his country must not be dragged into another conflict in the Middle East, as tensions rise over its neighbor Iran.
“We have had four decades of challenge and turmoil. We do not want to be embroiled in another war,” he said at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs think-tank in London.
“We cannot afford our country to be dragged into conflict.”
With tensions high between Iran and the United States, Salih insisted his country would not become “a staging post for belligerents.”
“We are asking everybody to cool it down... enough is enough,” he said.
“We do not want to be a victim of a conflict in Middle East. We have not finished the last one,” the Iraqi president added, referring to the US-led war on terror and battle against Daesh.
“It is in our national interests to have good relationship with Iran,” he said, whilst adding: “The US is a very important partner for Iraq.”
Salih, who took office in October, said Baghdad’s priority was “stability.”
“We need to transform Iraq from a zone of regional and proxy conflict into a zone of trade, infrastructure development, and jobs and a future for young people,” the 58-year-old said.
Salih visited British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday for talks on security cooperation and nation-building.
May said Britain “stood ready to provide further support” to the Iraqi and Kurdish security forces, her Downing Street office said.