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Iran's mass arrests: Broadest since 1979 Islamic revolution

Eight Iranian employees of the British embassy in Tehran were arrested Sunday and stood accused of inciting unrest over the June 12 presidential election, reports the government-linked Fars news agency.

In this photo taken June 15, a woman passes Iranian police officers, as they stand guard in front of the British Embassy during an anti-British protest in Tehran, Iran. Iranian authorities have detained several local employees of the British Embassy in Iran, a move that Britain's foreign secretary on Sunday, called 'harassment and intimidation.'

Vahid Salemi/AP

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Intimidation of regime opponents with arbitrary detention or house arrest is nothing new in Iran. But the country's current crackdown against citizens angry at the apparent rigging of the June 12 presidential election in favor of the incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is its broadest since the aftermath of the Islamic revolution in 1979.

Despite the effectiveness of beating and shooting protesters upset with the results of the June 12 presidential election – the streets of major Iranian cities were quiet over the weekend – the pace of arrests has hardly slowed as Mr. Ahmadinejad and his supporters try to consolidate their victory.

On Sunday, the government-linked Fars news agency reported that eight Iranian employees of the British Embassy in Tehran were arrested and stood accused of inciting the unrest over the election. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband called the arrests "harassment and intimidation" and added, "the idea that the British embassy is somehow behind the demonstrations ... is wholly without foundation."

The embassy workers join roughly 40 reporters and hundreds of student protesters, academics, and political activists held in detention centers around the country.


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