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Britain denies influencing Iran protests; BBC reporter "expelled"

Article published on the 2009-06-21 Latest update 2009-06-21 11:49 TU

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband(Photo: Reuters)

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband
(Photo: Reuters)

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said on Sunday that Tehran is falsely accusing the UK of fuelling the election protests in Iran. Meanwhile, Iranian state media announced that the country has expelled BBC correspondent Jon Leyne.

Miliband released the statement after Iran accused Britain of sabotaging the presidential election.

"I reject categorically the idea that the protesters in Iran are manipulated or motivated by foreign countries," Miliband said in a statement.

"The UK is categorical that it is for the Iranian people to choose their government and for the Iranian authorities to ensure the fairness of the result and the protection of their own people," he also wrote.

He also said that the escalating violence is to be "deplored."

"This can only damage Iran's standing in the eyes of the world," Miliband said. "The blame being heaped on foreigners is no excuse."

Also, the Iranian state news agency, Fars, said on Sunday that the country was expelling a BBC correspondent. It said that John Leyne had to leave Iran within 24 hours.

The news agency said that Leyne had been "supporting" the protesters.

Earlier on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki claimed that Britain "has plotted against the presidential election for more than two years" and said there had been an "influx" of British agents into Iran before the election.

"Elements linked to the British secret service were flying in in droves," Mottaki said.