The Iranian Intelligence Ministry confirmed on Wednesday it has arrested two Europeans in the run-up to a visit by European Union envoy Enrique Mora.
The pair's identities and nationalities were not given. In a statement, the Ministry said they were professionals in "creating riots" and had come to Iran to stir up “chaos, social disorder and instability".
It also said that with the arrests, the Islamic Republic was issuing a serious warning to so-called "foreign conspiratorial centers and contaminated domestic bases" and would soon broadcast audio and video evidence.
The announcement comes after news of the arrest of a Swedish tourist last week and the judiciary's threat to execute Swedish-Iranian doctor Ahmad Reza Jalali.
They are thought to be being held hostage, possibly in connection with a sought-after prisoner swap for the alleged 1988 prison massacre perpetrator Hamid Nouri, who is awaiting sentencing for war crimes and murder in Sweden.
The ministry said that the two new detainees had been pursued from “the moment of arrival” in Iran and all their relations with the “illegal Council of Teachers League” were documented. Teachers have been holding regular protests in Iran for years over a promised, but still undelivered, overhaul of the pay system. The last protest, calling for the release of some of the since-arrested educators, took place this week.
Mora is the EU's nuclear coordinator and the official purpose of his visit is to try to lift the stalemate between Tehran and Washington over the nuclear talks in Vienna. Discussions stalled after the regime demanded sanctions on the IRGC be lifted as part of a fresh agreement. The State Department has repeatedly said that no deal is imminent on either a prisoner swap or the nuclear deal.