Report: Iran arrests people accused of collaborating with the BBC


Though details remained scarce, The Associated Press said today that Iranian media reported the arrests of an unspecified number of people because of their associations with the BBC.

The arrests would continue the confrontation between the broadcasting service and Iran, which the BBC accuses of threats and intimidation against the families of its employees.

More from GlobalPost: BBC accuses Iran of a 'campaign of intimidation' against Persian service staff

The BBC had on Friday revealed the arrest of the sister of a Persian service staff member and publicly accused Iranian authorities of a campaign of harassment.

The AP said a report in the semi-official Mehr news agency claimed those who had been arrested produced content and reported for the BBC as well as arranging training, travel and the hiring of Iranian journalists.

Neither the names of those arrested nor the number of people detained was given, the AP said, which reported that Mehr had cited an unnamed Iranian official who claimed that those newly detained had been actively working with the BBC since 2009.

In a statement issued in London, the BBC said it had no Persian service staff members or stringers in Iran and the Mehr report “should be of deep concern to all those who believe in a free and independent media."

More from GlobalPost: Obama sanctions Iranian Central Bank

In an unrelated development, Reuters reported today that diplomats claim Iranian authorities have boosted the output of weapons-grade uranium at the Fordow underground enrichment facility. A single unnamed diplomat said the facility had doubled the number of centrifuge cascades from two to four that produce uranium at 20 percent fissile enrichment.

"The second set of cascades is operational … my understanding is they are both operational and (have) no problems," the diplomat posted to Vienna was quoted as saying.

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