Iranian daily links UK official’s visit to unrest

Published October 14, 2022
(Clockwise) Iranians drive past a huge billboard showing a montage of pictures titled “The women of my land, Iran” on Tehran’s Valiasr Square, featuring women who observe the hijab; an image grab from a video shows students at Tehran University shouting at security forces gathered outside the gate of their campus; and, female protesters are roughly handled by security forces in the city of Rasht, in Iran’s northern Gilan province.—AFP
(Clockwise) Iranians drive past a huge billboard showing a montage of pictures titled “The women of my land, Iran” on Tehran’s Valiasr Square, featuring women who observe the hijab; an image grab from a video shows students at Tehran University shouting at security forces gathered outside the gate of their campus; and, female protesters are roughly handled by security forces in the city of Rasht, in Iran’s northern Gilan province.—AFP

TEHRAN: Britain said on Thursday that a recent visit to Tehran by a foreign ministry official was hosted by Iran, dismissing a report by an Iranian newspaper linking it to ongoing unrest.

Ultra-conservative newspaper Javan had published a photograph of Stephanie Al Qaq, the head of the ministry’s Middle East and North Africa department, in its Wednesday edition under the headline “English spy led the riots up close”.

But British ambassador Simon Shercliff insisted that her “short visit to Tehran last month” had been for “official talks”.

The visit was hosted by the foreign ministry in Tehran, and “they asked us not to say anything publicly about the visit, so we did not”, Shercliff said on Twitter.

“I don’t remember any part of those official talks being about instigating riots,” he added.

The Javan newspaper quoted “informed sources” as saying that Al Qaq “entered the country a few days before the start of the riots and closely observed the process of managing the situation in Iran and evidence shows she had a role in leading the riots”.

Al Qaq led the British delegation to currently stalled negotiations on reviving a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers.

Iranian officials have accused the country’s enemies, particularly the United States, of fanning the Amini protests.

Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2022

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