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BBC Says Iran Detains Six Independent Filmmakers

The BBC says Iran has detained six independent filmmakers whose work was screened by the British broadcaster, but it denied they were staff employees.

The BBC issued a statement after an Iranian state television website reported that Tehran had arrested five men and a woman for gathering information for the BBC's Persian-language service.

The statement said that BBC Persian television rebroadcast films by the six independent documentary filmmakers that had been "screened in festivals and other venues internationally."

BBC official Liliane Landor said the films had not been commissioned by the BBC. Landor added that the arrests were part of official Iran's "ongoing put pressure on" the broadcaster, according to AP.

An Iranian state television website, quoting an informed source who identified the detainees by their initials, said the arrests were carried out late on September 17.

The BBC's Farsi-language service is banned in Iran but available via satellite. The government accuses it of broadcasting negative reports on Iran and fomenting unrest.

compiled from agency reports