Reported detention of Swiss envoy to Iran denied

17th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

The Swiss and Iranian governments denied reports on Saturday that Bern's ambassador to Tehran was detained by the Islamic republic's security forces earlier this week.

Iranian state media said police had 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.

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

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

Switzerland's foreign ministry said on Saturday that Agosti had only 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.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said later that the reports about Agosti's detention had "been covered inaccurately and wrongly."

"Such an incident as reported by some websites is not true," he was quoted on the same website without elaborating.

The Swiss embassy in Tehran has handled 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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