Britain 'outraged' at storming of embassy in Iran

29th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain said Tuesday it was "outraged" by the storming of its embassy in Tehran by Iranian protesters, saying it was "utterly unacceptable and we condemn it".

A Foreign Office spokesman urged the Iranian government to "act urgently to bring the situation under control", citing its duty under international law to protect diplomats and embassies.

"There has been an incursion by a significant number of demonstrators into our embassy premises, including vandalism to our property," the spokesman said, adding that the situation remained "fluid" and details were still emerging.

"We are outraged by this. It is utterly unacceptable and we condemn it," he said in a statement.

"Under international law, including the Vienna Convention, the Iranian government have a clear duty to protect diplomats and embassies in their country and we expect them to act urgently to bring the situation under control and ensure the safety of our staff and security of our property."

According to an AFP reporter at the scene in Tehran, more than 20 Iranian protesters stormed the embassy, removing the mission's flag and ransacking offices.

The protesters were also shown live on Iranian state television throwing stones at embassy windows, breaking them, and one was seen climbing the wall with a looted portrait of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II.

The attack comes amid heightened tensions following Iran's decision to pass a law to expel the British ambassador to Tehran in retaliation for new British sanctions that cut off all ties with Iran's financial sector.

The sanctions were part of a coordinated raft of unilateral measures announced November 14 by Britain, the United States and Canada to increase pressure on Iran to halt its controversial nuclear programme.

© 2011 AFP

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