German diplomats involved in Iran riots: reports

German diplomats had a hand in riots in Iran last month during the Shiite commemoration of Ashura, local news agencies reported Wednesday quoting an unnamed deputy intelligence minister.

The official IRNA news agency reported that the deputy minister spoke of the “involvement of German diplomats” in the riots on December 27, the day of Ashura.

“The riots on this day were pre-planned and the ‘current of sedition’, anti-revolutionaries and the network affiliated to Western intelligence services were involved,” the deputy minister was quoted as saying by IRNA.

The authorities use the words “current of sedition” to describe the anti-government protest movement.

According to the report the deputy intelligence minister said that a close advisor of main opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi was identified and arrested and made “confessions.”

“Available evidence and this person’s confessions show that he was connected through a point man to the intelligence service of a European country and was releasing confidential information,” IRNA quoted the deputy as telling reporters.

A few days after the Shiite commemoration, Iranian officials revealed they had detained a Swedish diplomat for 24 hours on the day of Ashura.

And earlier this month Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said that a German citizen was detained and later freed, apparently in connection with the Ashura riots.

At least eight people were killed in Iran during the Ashura riots when crowds of demonstrators launched protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in what turned into the bloodiest showdown between them and security forces since the initial post-election unrest in June.

A police website reported earlier this month that more than 40 people had been arrested on the basis of tip-offs after police circulated photographs of demonstrators of Ashura rioters.

Iranian authorities say several hundred people were rounded up on the day, without giving a precise figure. A small number of them have since gone on trial, according to newspaper reports.