Iranian state television accuses the BBC of trying to steal documents from 'formal archives'



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TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian state television accused the BBC on Sunday of trying to steal "artistic, historic and cultural documents" from government archives in the Islamic Republic.

The BBC had no immediate comment on the claim, coming in a report on the Iranian broadcasting company's website, though Iran has a history of accusing the British broadcaster as operating as a cover for spies and dissidents.

The state television report said Iranian intelligence officials disrupted the alleged plot by local dependents of the BBC.

"The hostile network of the BBC — against the mores and regulations of media and international law — attempted to steal historical documents from formal archive centers through its local dependents," the report read, citing a statement by Iran's intelligence department.

The TV report did not elaborate.

The BBC's Farsi-language service is not authorized to operate in Iran, and working for the network is against the law. The BBC says Tehran also blocks its broadcasts into the country.

In 2012, Iran arrested two filmmakers over alleged links to BBC. They were released later. Months later, Iran's state TV claimed the BBC hacked its website to change the results of a poll about Iran's nuclear program.

Britain has no diplomatic presence in Tehran after angry militant Iranians stormed its diplomatic buildings in Tehran in 2011. However, British Prime Minister David Cameron met with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday, the first such meeting since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The two countries also have announced their readiness to open their diplomatic missions in capitals of each other after two year. Iran's consular section in London resumed its activities earlier this year.

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