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Iran detains several foreigners, including senior UK diplomat, for alleged spying

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State TV in Iran said British diplomat Giles Whitaker (above) had been arrested for taking soil samples.

PHOTO: WWW.GOV.UK

DUBAI (REUTERS) – Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have detained several foreigners, including Britain’s second most senior envoy in Teheran, for alleged acts of spying such as taking soil samples in restricted areas, state television reported on Wednesday (July 6).

It did not say whether those detained were still under arrest.

Britain said the reports were “completely false”.

“These spies were taking earth samples in Iran’s central desert where the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace missile exercises were conducted,” state TV said.

The TV showed footage of Giles Whitaker and his family in central Iran where the British diplomat appeared to be taking ground samples.

The TV said it was near an area that a missile test was taking place.

“Whitaker was expelled from (the area) after apologising” the TV report said.

A spokesman for Britain’s Foreign Office said: “Reports of the arrest of a British diplomat in Iran are completely false.”

One of those detained was identified by state TV as the husband of Austria’s cultural attache in Iran.

It also showed a picture of a third foreigner, identifying him as Maciej Walczak, a university professor in Poland whom it said was visiting Iran as a tourist.

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