Iran: British woman facing lashes over ‘subversion’ in Iran

The Times

A British national has begged forgiveness from an Iranian revolutionary court after being put on trial in Tehran for subversive activities, Iranian websites reported yesterday. An unidentified woman, 24, the daughter of a British mother and Iranian father, has admitted some of the charges against her including encouraging and attending demonstrations, consorting with foreigners and drinking alcohol, government and opposition websites said.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has asked the Iranian Government for clarification of the reports, and that the woman be given consular assistance if true. That is unlikely to be granted, though, because Iran does not recognise dual nationality.

Relations between London and Tehran are already under strain. The Iranian regime has accused Britain of fomenting the worst unrest in its 31-year history, arrested Iranians working for the British Embassy and expelled the BBC’s correspondent.

The Jaras opposition website said that she had been charged with espionage, undermining state security by encouraging anti-government demonstrations, disseminating propaganda against the Islamic Republic, insulting its leaders, using a satellite dish and having immoral relations with employees of the German Embassy.

Five of the 16 face execution for the crime of moharebeh, or waging war against God. The British woman is not believed to be facing the death penalty but Farahmand Alipour, a Jaras journalist, said that she was likely to be whipped and imprisoned.

The regime is handing out draconian penalties in an attempt to deter a demonstration scheduled for the anniversary of the Iranian revolution next Thursday.

The woman admitted attending demonstrations after Mahmoud Ahma- dinejad’s victory in last June’s hotly disputed presidential election. She said she thought that attending the protest was “the right thing to do”.

She said that she had drunk alcohol, but only once when forced to do so by her aunt in Britain.

She allegedly told the court: “I ask for forgiveness from the Supreme Leader and the respected judge. Since I was arrested, I have learnt a lot and changed a lot and I am full of regret.”

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