Almotamar.net, Google - An employee of the British embassy in Tehran went on trial Saturday, accused of being a spy in a move the foreign secretary David Miliband said "brings further discredit" to Iran's regime. A tired-looking Hossein Rassam, chief political analyst at the embassy and an Iranian citizen, "confessed" in court that he had recruited a network of 50 agents on behalf of the embassy in the past year and attended pro-democracy demonstrations to gather information and foment unrest.
The dramatic appearance of Rassam came at the second mass trial of Iranians who had protested following the disputed June elections, which returned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by an unexpectedly high margin.
The British government says that Iran had given assurances that Rassam would not be tried. Rassam, 44, was one of nine locally employed British embassy employees arrested but was the only one to be charged – with damaging the country's national security.
Miliband last night said: "I am deeply concerned by the unjustified charges laid against Hossein Rassam in Tehran. Hossein is a member of our embassy staff going about his legitimate duties. Iranian action against him only brings further discredit on the Iranian regime."
According to the official IRNA news agency, Rassam confessed at the trial to handing over information about the protests to "Washington" and had apologised and asked for clemency. The semi-official Fars news agency said Rassam had admitted acting as liaison for senior British officials in the embassy, including Tom Burn, the second secretary, who was expelled, and had accompanied him to meetings with opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi. He had also confessed that the embassy had used "bursaries" and an English-language examinations scheme as a cover for contacts with members of the Iranian elites.
Rassam's trial comes just days after Britain's ambassador to Iran, Simon Gass, attended Ahmadinejad's inauguration ceremony.
Last month, the release of Rassam on $100,000 bail was applauded by the foreign secretary who suggested strongly that the issue had been resolved.
Also appearing at yesterday's hearing was language teacher Clotilde Reiss, who had been arrested at Tehran airport on 1 July on charges of espionage. She was leaving the country after spending five months working as a teacher in Isfahan and had also been an employee of the French embassy. Miliband said European nations were united in their opposition to the trial. He said he was in close contact with members of the EU and had spoken to French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner and Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt, the current EU president. "We have reaffirmed our solidarity in the face of this latest Iranian provocation," he added.
During the court session, a prosecutor read out an indictment outlining what he said were plans by the US and Britain to foment unrest in Iran with the aim of toppling the ruling Islamic system, the IRNA news agency reported. The vague indictment also accused the two powers of providing financial assistance to Iran's reformists to undermine hard-line clerics within the ruling system.
Iranian defendants included Ali Tajernia, a former reformist lawmaker, Shahaboddin Tabatabaei, a prominent leader of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, Iran's largest reformist political party, and Ahmad Zeidabadi, an outspoken journalist opposing hardliners.
Iran's reformist and moderate parties have denounced the mass trial. The first session held last Saturday featured confessions that many human rights groups say were obtained under duress. One of the most high-profile defendants was a former vice-president, Mohammad Ali Abtahi, who served under former reformist President Mohammad Khatami.
The United Nations Secretary-General underlined that the only option for resolving the crisis in Yemen is negotiation.
Mr. Ban Ki-moon "is aware of reports that other States, in particular members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, are also supporting these [Military] operations," said a statement released from the office of the UN chief's spokesperson.
Mr. Ban called for ensuring the protection of civilians and emphasized that "negotiations remain the only option for ultimately resolving the crisis."
A clarification message from the Pakistani embassy in Sana’a denies the rumors of Pakistan involvement on the air strikes against Yemen.
The source was surprised of including the name of Pakistan to the list of countries who participated in last night air strikes on Sana’a and other Yemeni cities.
Ambassador to Yemen Dr. Irfan Shami said, Several international media reports are erroneously reporting that Pakistani aircraft were involved in the air strikes launched by the GCC coalition against Yemen in the early morning of Thursday, 26 March 2015.
The Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Iyad Madani called on all Yemeni parties to act wisely and put the interests of Yemen above all political, tribal and sectarian accounts.
In a statement aired by Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Madani described the developments that are currently taking place in Yemen as "serious".
Madani urged all parties to avoid the military option and to response to the international and regional efforts that call for a comprehensive national dialogue to find a peaceful way out of the deepening crisis in Yemen
Yemen stands on the brink of civil war amid deepening political tensions and an uptick in sectarian violence, United Nations Special Adviser Jamal Benomar warned [Yesterday] as he explained that only through dialogue could the country achieve a peaceful political transition.
Briefing the Security Council via video conference in a rare Sunday session, Mr. Benomar told the UN body that Yemen was on a “rapid downward spiral” as the conflict took on “worrying sectarian tones and deepening north-south divisions.”
“Emotions are running extremely high and, unless solutions can be found, the country will fall into further violent confrontations,” Mr. Benomar declared. “Events in Yemen are leading the country away from political settlement and to the edge of civil war.”
The situation in Yemen has been rapidly deteriorating since the country formed a new Government in November 2014 aimed at ending a period of political turbulence and bringing about a full transition towards democracy. Nonetheless, the country has continued to be plagued by violence and mass political demonstrations despite UN efforts to bring about a peaceful political resolution
Yemen's unity and stability are under huge threats, which casts serious consequences for the Arab region and the international peace and security, Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Monday.
"Yemen is facing multiple challenges, which makes it imperative to help Yemen and drag it away from the edge of the abyss ", Shoukry said in his speech during the Arab League Council meeting at the ministerial level held in Cairo.
He reiterated Egypt's support for the institutions of the state in Yemen to carry out their national responsibilities in maintaining the unity of Yemeni territory.
The United Nations announced on Sunday the launch of the humanitarian response plan for Yemen for 2015 with an amount of US $747.5 million to deliver humanitarian aid to 8.2 million people.
Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen Johannes Van Der Klaauw said that the latest developments in Yemen confirm the importance of continuing humanitarian aid and expanding its domain to reach millions of vulnerable Yemeni people.
"Despite the political unrest in Yemen, the humanitarian community will continue to work in Yemen at its full capacity and within strong partnerships with local communities and local partners," Klaauw added.
He said that the humanitarian agencies are adhered to continue to deliver emergency humanitarian assistance and to provide protection services for people within the vulnerable groups.
He called on all donors and concerned parties to support such efforts and provide humanitarian response plan for Yemen during the current year.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) renewed on Wednesday its call for all political parties in Yemen to implement the Council's relevant resolutions, especially the resolution 2201.
The council urged Yemeni political parties to reach a political agreement based on the Gulf initiative and the Peace and National Partnership Agreement (PNPA), confirming its respect to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yemen.
Chaired by Francois Delattre, the ambassador and Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations in New York, the UNSC confirmed its support for the efforts made by the UN Special adviser on Yemen Jamal Benomar.
In closed consultations which lasted for more than two hours, Delattre said, "We have heard Benomar's briefing over the latest developments in Yemen, reviewing our concerns the lack of political solutions as well as growing of terrorist threats due to the ongoing security vacuum."