Iran 'detains' Swiss envoy, Bern denies

17th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Iranian authorities detained the Swiss ambassador to Tehran three days ago, state media reported on Saturday, but the Swiss government said she was only questioned by police.

State media reported that security forces briefly detained ambassador Livia Leu Agosti, whose embassy represents US interests in Iran, on Wednesday while she was on a trip to North Khorasan province.

She was detained "because her identity was not established at the time" and freed a few hours later, said the website of Press TV, the Iranian channel in English, citing "informed sources."

This was despite Agosti's trip to a village in the province having been planned in "coordination and full permission of the foreign ministry," state television said on its website, quoting an informed source.

"But the local security forces temporarily arrested on July 14 the Swiss ambassador because her identity was not established. However after coordination with relevant authorities she was immediately released," the website said.

However in Switzerland, the foreign ministry said on Saturday that Agosti had been "checked by local police during a trip," adding "she was not detained" and that the matter would not affect Bern's relations with Tehran.

The Swiss embassy in Tehran has represented the interests of the United States in Iran since the two archfoes broke off ties in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

© 2010 AFP

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