Britain says Iranian vote to expel diplomat 'regrettable'

27th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain described as "regrettable" a vote by Iran's parliament Sunday to expel its ambassador to Tehran, and warned London would respond "robustly" if the threat was followed through.

"The Iranian parliament's vote to expel our ambassador is regrettable," a Foreign Office spokesman said, adding: "If the Iranian government acts on this, we will respond robustly in consultation with our international partners."

The parliament voted to expel ambassador Dominick Chilcott within two weeks in retaliation for fresh Western sanctions over Tehran's nuclear programme, and warned other countries could also be punished.

The bill passed, which now has to go to an oversight Guardians Council for approval, also demands Iran's ambassador to Britain be withdrawn.

"This unwarranted move will do nothing to help the regime address their growing isolation or international concerns about their nuclear programme and human rights record," the Foreign Office spokesman said.

Britain, whose City of London is the world's biggest financial centre alongside New York, said on November 14 it was "ceasing all contact" between its financial system and that of Iran.

That measure, announced in coordination with similar sanctions by the United States and Canada, came a week after a report by the UN atomic energy watchdog suggested Tehran was researching nuclear weapons.

Iran insists its nuclear programme is for civilian energy purposes.

© 2011 AFP

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