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-led coalition's warplanes and its mercenaries continued to breach the UN-announced ceasefire in several provinces during the past 24 hours, a military official said Sunday.
The aggression's war jets dropped sound bombs on al-Nahdain and Noqm areas in the Capital and launched two sorties on Nehm district and two on al-Shurfa area in Bani Hushaish district in Sana'a province, the official said.
He added the aggression dropped also four sound bombs on al-Shahel district and petrol bombs on al-Mazraq in Haradh district in Hajjah province.
In Jawf province, three children were wounded by the Saudi air bombing on al-Muaimerah area in al-Moton district, which was targeted by two air raids.
The Saudi-led coalition's warplanes and its mercenaries continued to breach the UN-announced ceasefire in several provinces during the past 24 hours, a military official said Saturday.
The official said that the Saudi war jets kept flying in the skies of the provinces of Sana'a, Jawf, Mareb, Sa'ada, Amran, Hajjah, Hodeidah and Mahweet.
The hostile warplanes waged six raids on al-Majaweha area in Nehm district and two others on Bani Hoshish district in Sana'a province, while Riyadh's mercenaries pounded the areas of Dhaboa'a, Mabda'a, al-Majaweha and al-Houl in Nehm with missiles, the official elaborated.
In Jawf, the war jets of the Saudi aggression launched two raids on the districts of al-Masloub and al-Ghail, while the hirelings pounded al-Maton district with artillery shells.
A military vehicle carrying 23-caliber machine gun belonging to the mercenaries was burned when the army and popular committees forces repelled their failed attempt to advance on Waqaz area in al-Masloub district
At least a citizen was killed and five others were wounded on Friday in an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition on Moza’ district in Taiz province.
A local official said that the raid targeted a truck loaded with cement on the main road in al-Hardain area of Moza’ district, which led to the killing of a citizen, injuring five others and damaging the truck’s load.
The aggression’s warplanes waged two raids on the coastal city of Mocha, the official added.
A senior United Nations relief official has warned of the worsening humanitarian crisis in Yemen due to the continuing conflict.
“Seeing the plight of the Yemeni people first-hand reinforces the need for national and international humanitarian actors to scale up their response to protect and support the population,” John Ging, Director of Operations in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
More than 13 million people in need of immediate life-saving assistance in Yemen, Ging stated following his three-day visit to the country with Emergency Director of the World Health Organization (WHO), Rick Brennan, and Deputy Emergency Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Gian Carlo Cirri.
He pointed out that the healthy food and access to health care are among the more requirements of the population.
Since mid-March 2015, the conflict has prompted a widening protection crisis, exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation brought on by years of poverty, poor governance and instability. Over 7.6 million people are severely food insecure, and 2.5 million people have been displaced by violent conflict since January 2014.
The national delegation consisting of representatives of the General People’s Congress headed by Mr. Aref Awad Azwkaand and Ansarullah headed by Mr. Mohammed Abdulsalam held on Thursday, two sessions with the UN envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed,.
The two sessions discussed a roadmap for a transitional period and the need to completely stop hostilities.
The national delegation stressed the need for supporting the ceasefire the existing stage is governed by consensus and partnership, and that the key solution is consensus on a transitional authority.