Spain, UK protest to Iran over diplomat's detention

LONDON Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:45pm EST

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LONDON (Reuters) - Spain and Britain said on Thursday they had protested to Iran over the detention of a Spanish diplomat who had observed an anti-government demonstration in Tehran.

Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez, speaking in London after talks with British counterpart William Hague, said Spain considered it serious and "unacceptable" that a Spanish diplomat had been detained by Iranian police for four hours.

Ignacio Perez Cambra, responsible for consular matters at

the Spanish embassy in Tehran, was held after observing the demonstration Monday, Spanish press reports say.

The Spanish government had called in Iran's ambassador in Madrid to ask for an explanation and Spain's ambassador in Tehran had also raised the issue, Jimenez said.

"We have not so far received a reply and if we don't get a satisfactory response ... the Spanish government is considering calling the Spanish ambassador for consultations," she said.

Recalling a country's ambassador is considered a serious diplomatic protest.

(Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Ralph Boulton)

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