After Tehran announced recently the arrest of several foreigners that it accused of spying, Poland confirmed on Thursday that a Polish scientist had been arrested in Iran and said it was working to secure his return home, Reuters reports.
Iranian state television reported on Wednesday that its Revolutionary Guards had arrested the foreigners for acts that included taking soil samples in restricted areas.
The Iranian report identified one of those arrested as a Polish scientist named Maciej Walczak, and another as Giles Whittaker, the second-ranking diplomat at the British Embassy. Britain has denied one of its diplomats was detained.
A statement from the Polish Foreign Ministry confirmed the arrest of a Polish “recognised scientist”, giving no further details about his identity.
“From the very beginning, the consular services are in constant contact with our citizen and his family, the detainee has been granted legal aid,” the Polish Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website.
“Consular and diplomatic actions are taken to enable our citizen to return to Poland as soon as possible. We are also coordinating our further steps with allied countries.”
The Iranian TV report included footage purportedly showing Walczak and three colleagues collecting earth samples after visiting Iran on a scientific exchange programme. It said their sample collection also coincided with a missile test in Iran’s southern Kerman province.
Iranian state TV identified a third person arrested as the husband of Austria’s cultural attache in Iran, but Austria denied that Iran had detained any relatives of its diplomats.
“All of our staff and their relatives in Tehran are fine. No one has been detained or arrested,” a spokesperson for the Austrian Foreign Ministry said.
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