Iran reveals the arrest of several foreign diplomats on espionage charges
Among those Tehran says were detained was the UK deputy ambassador to the country, a claim London has categorically denied
By News Desk - July 07 2022

(Photo credit: iStock)

The Intelligence Organization of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced on 6 July the arrest of a number of diplomats working in foreign embassies in Tehran over espionage charges.

Among those detained at an unspecified date was Britain’s deputy ambassador to Iran, Giles Whitaker, who was reportedly caught taking earth samples in restricted areas at the Shahdad Desert.

Iranian state TV released footage that allegedly shows Whitaker taking ground samples near an area where a missile test by the IRGC was taking place.

“One of those identified is the British deputy ambassador, who went to Shahdad desert in Kerman with his family as a tourist, but as the recorded images show, he was taking soil samples while a missile exercise was being conducted by the IRGC Aerospace Force at the time,” the report by IRNA claims.

The report added that “after apologizing, Whitaker was expelled from the city to which he had traveled.”

The British diplomat was reportedly an army officer before his long career with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Following news of Whitaker’s arrest, London categorically denied the report.

“Reports of the arrest of a British diplomat in Iran are completely false,” a UK foreign ministry spokesman said, without offering further detail.

A second British official claimed Whitaker was already back in the UK, after allegedly apologizing to Iranian officials.

Another among those detained was identified by the IRGC as the husband of Austria’s cultural attaché in Iran.

He reportedly traveled to a village in central Damghan in Semnan province and sampled the soil in the area. Sometime earlier, he had also been caught filming a military district in Tehran.

A third foreigner, identified as Maciej Walczak, a university professor in Poland, was also detained by the IRGC under espionage charges.

“He enters the country under the guise of a scientific exchange with a university, but as tourists, they go to Kerman and Shahdad region at the time of a missile test, where they take samples of soil, water, rock, salt, and mud. He is the head of the biological and biotechnology department of the Copernicus University in Poland, which is associated with the Zionist regime,” IRNA said about Walczak.

The numbers, nationalities, and dates of arrest of the other detained diplomats were not revealed.

Last month, the IRGC intelligence service dismantled and arrested a large spy network working for the Israeli Mossad in the Sistan and Baluchestan province of southeastern Iran.

On 20 April, another spy ring connected to the Mossad was uncovered in the same province, which is home to various foreign-backed hostile militant groups who ascribe to Wahhabism, the same ideology as ISIS and Al-Qaeda.

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