Iranians free British Embassy worker

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The Independent Online

The last British Embassy worker being held in Iran has been released, it emerged tonight.

Nine staff were originally arrested after the disputed re-election of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the street protests that followed.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband said he was "very glad" at news of the release of Hossein Rassam.

The Associated Press quoted Mr Rassam's lawyer, Abdolsamad Khorramshi, as saying he had been released on bail and was charged with harming national security for alleged involvement in the protests.

Mr Rassam, the Embassy's chief political analyst, was released from Evin prison in Tehran on bail of about 100,000 US dollars, the lawyer said. His court date has not yet been set.

The nine local employees were arrested in June. Mr Rassam is the only one who has been charged.

Mr Miliband said: "I am very glad Hossein Rassam has been released. The release of all of our staff has remained an important priority throughout the past three weeks, and has required intensive discussions with the Iranian authorities.

"This has included my conversations with Foreign Minister (Manuchehr) Mottaki, who has, with his deputy, kept us informed of developments.

"I am grateful to our European partners for their solidarity and support in resolving this issue.

"The detention of embassy staff was completely unjustified: I am confident that none of them were involved in any improper behaviour.

"I remain deeply concerned by the detention of Clotilde Reiss, the French student arrested in Iran. Europe is united in calling for her immediate release."

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We remain extremely concerned about the issue, and continue to take it up with the Iranian authorities."