Iran protests US espionage networks

Summons Swiss ambassador, demands "necessary explanation" of activity.

jp.services1 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
Iran summoned the Swiss ambassador Sunday to protest US espionage networks recently uncovered in the country, state television reported. The broadcast said Ahmad Sobhani, head of American affairs for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, met with Swiss Ambassador Philippe Welti and demanded "necessary explanation" of US espionage networks Iran announced it had uncovered Saturday. "Recently, several espionage networks were identified that were active, under guidance of the US intelligence apparatus, to commit infiltration and sabotage in western, central and southwestern areas of the country," the television quoted Sobhani as saying during the meeting. The Swiss embassy has been working as the US interest section in Iran ever since Washington broke its diplomatic ties with the country in 1979 when Iranian militant students stormed its embassy in Teheran. The diplomatic protest came a day before an ambassador-level meeting between the US and Iran in Baghdad to discuss the security situation in Iraq. Monday's talks, which both sides say will focus solely on Iraq, are the first of their kind and a small sign that Washington thinks rapprochement is possible after nearly three decades of animosity. Iranian state television reported Saturday that the country's Intelligence Ministry had "succeeded in identifying and striking blows at several spy networks comprised of infiltrating elements from the Iraqi occupiers in western, southwestern and central Iran," using shorthand for US and its allies. The White House said Saturday that it does not confirm or deny allegations about intelligence matters. "We urge Iran to play a positive role in Iraq… and stop blaming everyone else for problems they are only bringing on themselves," White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino said. Since the US-led invasion of Iraq, Iran has often accused the United States and Britain of trying to undermine the security of the Islamic Republic.