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Bobby Ghosh

Expect More Hostage Diplomacy From a Desperate Iran

Recent episodes involving foreigners should be a warning to Western governments that their citizens are an easy target for a regime facing mounting domestic and international pressure.

Shifting blame.

Shifting blame.

Photographer: Ali Mohammadi/Bloomberg

It might have been a scene from a perverse Persian-language Keystone Cops remake. Last Wednesday, Iran’s state-run Press TV aired footage that, it claimed, showed Britain’s deputy ambassador taking soil samples in a desert location close to where the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps conducts missile exercises.

The report said the IRGC had caught Giles Whitaker spying on military sites, along with the spouse of the Austrian Embassy’s cultural attaché and a Polish university professor. The British diplomat, Press TV added, was “expelled from the city after apologizing.”