Heydar Moslehi

Iranian Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi says the recent arrest of documentary filmmakers is only the beginning of government action against "collaborators" in Iran who help the BBC.

The Fars News Agency reports that Moslehi told reporters on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting: "The British intelligence under the guise of the BBC has begun a new phase of destructive and anti-Iranian activities. The Intelligence Ministry has stepped in to block these destructive activities by the British and to stop more people from becoming ensnared by their intelligence service."

Last Sunday, Iranian authorities arrested five Iranian documentary makers accused of collaborating with the Persian BBC. Iran’s House of Cinema and Association of Documentary Makers have spoken out against the arrests and urged authorities to respect the detainees’ rights.

Minister Moslehi said: "We are considering all reactions both beyond our borders and within. We do not care which group is the main instigator in this incident because we will take all reactions into consideration in our future moves."

He added: "The BBC is actually not a media outlet but rather an organization that is only disguised as a media outlet, and its actual nature is Baha’i- Zionist, and its missions are related to political intelligence."

The arrests took place after the BBC broadcast a documentary about Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

The BBC has announced that it has no employees or collaborators in Iran.