A PARTY to mark the Queen's birthday by the British embassy in Iran is "psychological war" planned with the United States against the Islamic Republic, a hardline Iranian newspaper has said.
Kayhan, accusing the embassy of expanding its list of Iranian invitees, wrote: "The British embassy acts as America's psychological war wing. It seems the different kind of programming for the Queen's party is a joint American-British project."
The embassy is often a focus for anti-western protests in Iran, where the US has no mission after cutting ties in 1980.
The embassy's birthday party for the Queen is an annual event, but this year it will be held against the backdrop of tension with the West over Iran's nuclear ambitions.
The gathering takes place today in the embassy's leafy Tehran compound - renovated a few years ago during a period of warming ties.
A British diplomat in Iran dismissed the charges.
"We are just doing what we normally do in embassies all over the world, inviting people from all sorts of walks of life," the diplomat said, adding those invited included officials, members of civil society and others.
Hardline student groups said they would hold a news conference outside the embassy to note the "betrayals and the historically cunning behaviour of the British government in Iran".
Kayhan put the party in context of the arrest of three American-Iranians, including academic Haleh Esfandiari, on security-related charges.
It quoted one Iranian invitee as saying: "Especially after the recent arrests of Iranians with American passports for espionage, the British embassy is trying to show there is nothing bad about having relations with foreigners."
Iran has linked the arrests to a so-called "soft revolution", a perceived plot by the US to undermine the government using intellectuals and others inside Iran.