Iran's top legislative body confirmed on Monday the results of a disputed June 12 election which was won by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, state broadcaster IRIB reported, while British staff remained in detention in Tehran.
"The secretary of the Guardian Council in a letter to the interior minister announced the final decision of the Council ... and declares the approval of the accuracy of the results of ... the presidential election," IRIB said.
Iran's English-language Press TV television station said a partial recount of the election that was carried out on Monday had shown no irregularities in the vote.
Defeated opposition candidate Mirhossein Mousavi had previously rejected the Council's offer of a partial recount, saying the vote was rigged in Ahmadinejad's favor and that the whole election should be annulled.
British staff still detained
At least three British embassy staff were still in detention in Iran Monday as state broadcasters announced the presidential election recount results.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown Monday called for the release of the local British embassy staff, saying Iran's behavior was "unacceptable, unjustified and without foundation."
British officials said nine staff members were arrested Sunday and that four were still in custody while official Iranian media said that eight people were arrested and three remained in custody.
Iranian media said the local embassy staff were held on accusations of involvement in the street protests that have rocked Iran after the disputed June 12 presidential election and helped force the partial recount. The U.K. rejected such charges.
Pro-reform cleric Mehdi Karoubi, fourth in the official count, had reiterated his call for the vote to be annulled in a letter to Iran's top legislative body, the unelected Guardian Council, which recountied a random 10 percent of the votes.
"The election's annulment is the only way to regain the people's trust," had said Karoubi, in a position shared with the other defeated reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who met on Sunday with a committee of the Council in a bid to resolve a political crisis that has exposed rifts in Iran's ruling establishment.
The recount process
"This recount is being done before (state broadcaster) IRIB cameras in various provinces and cities and we will subsequently announce the outcome for public information. ... We will try to release the outcome by the end of working hours (on Monday)," Kadkhodai had said.
Iran's state-run Press TV broadcasted live from one Tehran district where a Guardian Council supervisor was quoted as saying the recount in the area showed no major irregularities.
The information could not be independently verified as foreign media are banned from the streets under tough new restrictions imposed by the authorities in the wake of the election.
The results of the election that saw record turnout were announced 12 hours after polls closed.
Mass protests by demonstrators who said the poll was rigged were broken up by pro-government Basij militia and riot police. State media have said 20 people were killed in violence since the election.
The U.K., United States and other Western countries have questioned the election's fairness and condemned the bloodshed in its turbulent aftermath. Britain and Iran have expelled two of each other's diplomats since the election.
The hardline leadership, locked in a row with the West over its nuclear program and which says the poll was fair, has also blamed the trouble on foreign powers rather than popular anger. "Americans and the Zionists (Israel) wanted to destabilize Iran," Intelligence Minister Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei said.
He accused the British embassy of sending local staff "undercover among rioters in order to push its own agenda," the official IRNA news agency reported.
But a ministry spokesman, Hassan Ghashghavi, said that Iran has no plans to close embassies or downgrade diplomatic ties with foreign nations.
European Union nations also vowed to respond to any harassment of diplomats in Iran with a "strong and collective response," Miliband told reporters at an EU foreign ministers' meeting in Corfu.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki -- who has previously said Tehran was considering downgrading its ties with London -- urged Britain and the EU not to take rash action over the arrests.
"Don't continue with this losing game because this is neither in the interests of the British people nor the two countries' relations that have (already) been damaged because of the British government's behaviour," he said.
He also called for European countries and officials to "revise their stand" towards Iran, after supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused European and American officials of making "idiotic comments" about the country.
Probing death of Neda
Amid the diplomatic row, Ahmadinejad called Monday for a judicial probe into the "suspicious" death of a young Iranian woman who has become an icon of opposition protests against the election.
The president sent a letter to judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi requesting a serious investigation to help identify "the elements" behind this month's killing of Neda Agha-Soltan, the official IRNA news agency said.
Neda, a 26-year-old student, was shot on June 20, when supporters of defeated election candidate Mirhossein Mousavi clashed with riot police and Basij militiamen in Tehran. Footage of her death has been watched by thousands on the Internet.
A doctor who was present when Neda was shot and can be seen in the footage attempting to save her life has stated that he believes she was shot by a member of the government controlled Basij.