Britain’s deputy ambassador to Iran has been arrested and accused of gathering soil samples “in a prohibited location” in the desert as part of a spying plot, according to state media in the country.
Iranian television and news agencies showed video of Giles Whitaker apparently in detention. The reports said he had been pretending to have a picnic but was gathering samples near an area being used for drills by the Revolutionary Guard. There was also video, some of it allegedly taken by drones, of the scene of the alleged crime. “These spies were taking earth samples in Iran’s central desert where the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace missile exercises were conducted,” a commentary said.
The Foreign Office last night issued a blanket denial of the arrest.