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 Saudi aggression’s warplanes and warships continued to breach the ceasefire on Saturday in the provinces of Hodeidah, Taiz and Mareb, a military official said.
The official explained that the battleships of the Saudi aggression opened fire on the coastal city of Mocha in Taiz, while the surveillance planes continued flying in the sky of Thubab district and the western coast of Taiz.
The National delegation met on Thursday in Kuwait with eighteen ambassadors to Yemen.
During the meeting, the delegation members reviewed with the ambassadors the economic conditions in the country because of the aggression and the restrictions imposed on the Yemeni people, particularly obstructing ships movements, trade, transactions of the Central Bank of Yemen.
They stressed the need for a actual ceasefire and all military operations, affirming that Yemen needs an urgent political solution, taking into consideration the economic and security situations.
The national delegation stressed that after the 18 month-long aggression against Yemen, the other party cannot be recognized as legitimate regarding arms handover and the rest of procedural steps.
It is not difficult to form a consensual transitional government and it is possible to be agreed upon in principle, they said.
The UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, has concluded his evaluative visit to the province of Sa’ada.
The UN official urged all warring parties to maintain their commitment to the cessation of hostilities and allowing unconditional access to humanitarian organizations.
McGoldrick also requested from the international community to increase the level of support provided to Yemen.
"It is not possible to stop the suffering in Yemen only through finding a political solution", he said, hoping to continue the cessation of hostilities to allow expanding the humanitarian activities and paving the way for peace.
McGoldrick met, during his visit, with Sa'ada Governor, the Executive Council of the province and local authorities in Al-Qutaber to discuss the need for increasing support in the areas of quartering, health and education.
He urged to maintain the health and educational facilities protected as neutral facilities during armed conflicts.
Emir of Kuwait Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah received on Tuesday the national delegation headed by Mohamed Abdul-Salam and Aref al-Zoka.
In the meeting, al-Sabah confirmed his country's keenness on bringing peace in Yemen and reaching a peaceful solution, hoping that the peace talks in Kuwait will reach a comprehensive solution for the country.
The Emir of Kuwait stressed his keenness on stopping hostilities in Yemen, pointing that the efforts made by Kuwait aimed to succeed the talks.
For his part, Mohammed Abdulsalam affirmed the importance of the Kuwaiti role in bringing peace in Yemen, conforming the position of the national forces to find a just solution in Yemen.
The UN envoy to Yemen confirmed on Monday that the consensus of the participants in Yemeni peace talks held in Kuwait on bringing peace makes reaching a solution possible.
"There is no doubt that there are significant differences in views, but the consensus of the participants to bring peace makes it possible to reach a solution,” the UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said in a statement issued after the talks session Monday.
“There are only two options; either to continue the war or to consult and make concessions in order to achieve peace and all parties should assume responsibility for their decisions,” the UN envoy added.
The Saudi-led coalition has continued to fly intensively on the skies of many provinces, including Sana'a, Taiz, Mareb, Sa'ada, Mahweet, Lahj, Hajjah, Shabwa, Hodeida, Jawf.
A military official said the Riyadh's hirelings targeted the army and popular committees' sites in areas of Beer Basha, al-Khalel in Khadir district, in Jahmaliyah, Klabah, al-Salal and 40 Street in al-Dhamgah district in Taiz with light and medium weapons.
Moreover, the Riyadh's hirelings pounded the army and popular committees sites in al-Shabakah area, al-Ghawi Mount and al-Ain Mount, al-Jurf Mount, al-Shuqairah valley, Hasanat area with mortars in al-Waze'yah district of Taiz, according to the official.
The army and popular committees sites were also targeted by the mercenaries in Nehm district of Sana'a province.
In Mareb province, the hirelings bombarded the army and popular committees sites in al-Mashjah, Hilan Mount, al-Rabiah in Serwah district with medium and heavy weapons.
The Saudi fighter jets dropped flare bombs on different areas of Razeh district in Sa'ada, he said.
The hirelings pounded also areas in al-Ghail and al-Moton districts and targeted sites of the army and popular committees Aibar valley in Jawf with light weapons.