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TEHRAN — Iran's hardline press lashed out on Sunday at the role of foreign governments in the post-election turmoil, targeting Britain in particular after British and French embassy staff were put on trial.
"The British embassy: headquarters for the coup command," read the front-page headline of the government newspaper Iran after a local British embassy staffer was accused of spying in a revolutionary court on Saturday.
Hossein Rassam, the main political analyst at the embassy, appeared in court along with 24-year-old French lecturer Clotilde Reiss, and Franco-Iranian Nazak Afshar, who works for the cultural section of the French embassy in Tehran.
"London, the command room of street riots in Tehran, with Washington and Tel Aviv's cooperation," echoed the front-page headline in the leading hardline newspaper Kayhan.
The paper, whose director is appointed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, charged that British diplomats were in "constant contact" with the campaign of defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi.
Mousavi has waged a defiant campaign against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election in June, which triggered massive street protests and political turmoil that has shaken the very roots of the Islamic republic.
Moderate conservative daily Tehran Emrouz said Saturday's indictment "named Britain, France and Germany as supporters of a soft coup" against the Islamic regime.
It also said the court hearing was an "indictment against Facebook and Twitter", popular social networking websites which have been used effectively by opposition supporters to spread news and pictures of the protests.