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British Embassy

Iran Tries To Contain Diplomatic Rift With U.K., Europe

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Friday, December 09, 2011

Some of those who stormed an office at the British Embassy in Tehran look through documents and other belongings on November 29.

Iran says its crisis with London over the storming of the British Embassy in Tehran should not be an issue for other European countries.

The semiofficial Fars news agency quoted Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast as accusing the British government of “trying to extend to other European countries the problem between the two of us.”

“We have told European countries not to subject their ties” to the crisis, he added.

PHOTO GALLERY of the embassy incident in Tehran

Iranian diplomats were expelled from the U.K. and arrived home on December 3 to a crowd of some 150 people at Tehran’s airport, despite the government reportedly opposing any high-profile welcome.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague on November 30 ordered the diplomats to leave Britain following the closure of Britain’s embassy in Tehran, which was stormed and ransacked by protesters a day earlier.

French officials have told Western news agencies privately that Paris was temporarily downsizing its embassy in  Iran and would bring some employees and their families home.

Germany and the Netherlands have already recalled their ambassadors, and Italy and Spain summoned Iranian envoys to condemn the attacks. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 07, 2011 – Full Report – Iran Daily Brief

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Dec 7

International Affairs

Senior member of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee opines: Majlis will take more measures if British belligerence continues – Mohammad Esmaeil Kosari, a senior member of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said, “The recent demonstration by students in front of the British Embassy in Tehran was a completely justified move […] Britain’s decision to impose unilateral sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran intensified public outrage toward the country, and the British Embassy in Tehran was the nearest place for the people to vent their anger. During Iran’s 2009 presidential election, the British Embassy played a very active role in supporting dissident elements and agents’ provocateurs […] Iranian people have always been patient in regard to the UK hostile policies […] However, the unilateral sanctions recently imposed by the British government on the Central Bank of Iran, ostensibly to hinder Iran’s progress in peaceful nuclear activities, once again proved that there is no justification for continuing diplomatic relations with the UK […] Iranians are not the only people in the world who are fed up with British meddling […] In the wake of the recent demonstration, the UK is expected to revise its policies toward Tehran. This would pave the way for Iranian officials to restore diplomatic relations […] Otherwise, the Majlis will take tougher measures, and the remaining channels of communication will be completely shut down.” Majlis member Mohammad Karim Abedi has said that circumstances will oblige the UK to enhance diplomatic relations with Iran.

Assembly of Teachers and Researchers in Qom condemns attack against British Embassy; stress act was not the will of the Iranian people – In a statement marking Student Day in Iran, the Assembly of Teachers and Researchers in Qom condemned the attack against the British Embassy in Tehran, emphasizing that this irresponsible act was not the desire of the Iranian people and that the student population was not part of this. They emphasized that this led to condemnations of Iran around the world. In the statement, the members of the Assembly called on regime officials to formulate an intelligent and cautious foreign policy that was based on Iranian interests, to restore Iran’s international reputation, cancel sanctions and prevent war. At the same time, they called on holding free elections and for the release of all political prisoners.

Vice-President for International Affairs stressed the necessity of bolstering mutual cooperation between Iran and Syria – Ali Saeedloo said in a meeting with Syrian Minister of Housing and Construction in Tehran that “There are wide ranges for cooperation between the two countries, particularly in the housing and construction sectors.” He expressed Iran’s readiness to offer all expertise to Syria in this field. An Iranian technical delegation representing the housing sector is due to pay a visit to Syria to get acquainted with the housing situation and means of enhancing cooperation between the two countries’ housing sector. Read the rest of this entry »

Britain Orders Closure Of Iranian Embassy In London, U.K. Embassy In Tehran

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A protester kicks in a door at the British Embassy compound in Tehran on November 29.

Last updated (GMT/UTC): 30.11.2011 19:20

Britain has ordered the expulsion of all Iranian diplomats from the United Kingdomand ordered Tehran to close its embassy in London within 48 hours.The move comes a day after hard-line Islamist university students stormed the British Embassy in Tehran, smashing windows, starting fires, and looting property while police largely looked on. Hundreds of protesters also stormed a residential compound for British diplomats in another part of Tehran, reportedly briefly seizing six British Embassy staff there.

Iran’s government has expressed regret about what it called the “unacceptable behavior” of protesters, whose attacks began during an anti-British demonstration apparently authorized by the authorities.

The Iranian government has denied any connection to the demonstration. But Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani said on November 30 that the “wrath” of the attackers was the result of “several decades of domination-seeking behavior by Britain.”

Addressing an open session of parliament in Tehran, Larijani also called the UN Security Council’s condemnation of the embassy attack a “hasty move.”

Iran’s Mehr news agency also quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast as saying the British decision was “hasty” and the result of the actions of “some angry protesters.” He said Iran had begun an investigation into the matter and “will confront the intruders through legal channels.”

In a statement, Iran’s largest reformist student group condemned the attack on the British Embassy and said the attackers were not students.

Iranians express their opinions on embassy attack to RFE/RL’s Radio Farda

Shameful Acts

In London, British Foreign Secretary William Hague told Parliament the assaults were shameful acts by Iranians with direct links to the regime in Tehran.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague Read the rest of this entry »

Storming Of U.K.’s Embassy Summons Memories Of ’79, But There Are Differences

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Iranian students climb over the wall of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979.

By Golnaz Esfandiari

Fresh images of hard-line students storming a foreign embassy in Tehran can’t help but seem like déja vu. It’s even November, just like before.
Before, of course, was just after Iran’s 1979 revolution, when a group of young people calling themselves “students following of the line of Imam” (Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic republic) stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and ended up holding 52 U.S. diplomats hostage for 444 days.

The incident this week in Tehran has inevitably been compared to the events of 32 years ago. But there are differences. The 1979 hostage crisis began spontaneously. What happened on November 29, 2011, seems to have been a calculated move by hard-liners in the regime.

In a statement, the young people who claimed responsibility for the attack on the British Embassy called themselves Muslim Student Followers of the Supreme Leader. They referred to the British Embassy as “another nest of spies” and said the action is just one response to Britain’s recent sanctioning of Iran’s central bank, which they say represents a declaration of war.

A follow-up statement referred to the British Embassy as a “nest of plots” and accused it of playing a key role in organizing and provoking the 2009 postelection protests, which the government brutally supressed.

“Nest of spies” was a phrase heard often in the early years of the postrevolution period — and is still used by some — to describe the U.S. Embassy, which was accused of spying on Iranians.

Deep Distrust

Whereas the 1979 students immediately took hostages in the U.S. Embassy, there is confusion over whether the latest group held six British embassy staffers hostage for several hours. The Mehr news agency first reported that they had, but then removed the report from its website.
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Later, the hard-line Fars news agency said six diplomatic staff who had been under siege during the attack were released by diplomatic police. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he would not call the six “hostages.”

The storming of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979, led to the cutting of ties between the two governments, forging a deep distrust that continues to this day.

The consequences of the storming of the British Embassy are not clear yet, but the events have no doubt dealt a serious blow to diplomatic ties between the two countries. British Prime Minister David Cameron has already warned of “further and serious consequences.”

Approval Of Senior Officials?

Tensions between London and Tehran have been rising in recent months over Iran’s refusal to halt nuclear activities deemed suspicious by the West. A recent UN report concluding that Iran has worked to acquire a nuclear weapon led to a rare joint resolution by the P5+1 negotiating group — Russia, China, the United States, France, and Britain, along with Germany — aimed at putting more pressure on Tehran.

The attack on the British Embassy appears to have been a reaction to this growing international pressure on the Islamic republic and follows a vote on November 27 in Iran’s parliament — by a large majority — to downgrade diplomatic relations with the U.K. in response to its new sanctions.