Iran warns 'reciprocal action' to Britain shutting embassy
Iran on Wednesday warned that it will take measures against Britain after its decision to close the Islamic republic's embassy in London, a foreign ministry spokesman said.
"The British government's asking Iranian diplomats in London to leave this country is a passive and hasty action," the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in statements emailed to AFP.
"Obviously the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran will take reciprocal action in this regard and holds the British government responsible for protecting the diplomatic properties and belongings in London," he added.
"What happened at the British embassy in Tehran was unpredictable. It occured due to the anger of some demonstrators over Britain's policies regarding the Islamic republic," Mehmanparast said.
He noted that none of the British diplomats were hurt and said the judiciary was "dealing" with the "violators."
Iran "is committed to international obligations, and considers unacceptable any aggression towards diplomats and diplomatic properties," Mehmanparast added.
Earlier, top lawmaker Aladdin Brujerdi lashed out at Britain for shutting the Iranian embassy in London and warned of "repercussions" and urged other European Union nations not to follow suit.
"Britain is responsible for all the repercussions of its action," Brujerdi, chairman of the Iranian parliamentary national security and foreign policy commission, told Al-Alam news channel.
Mehmanparast and Brujerdi were responding to British Foreign Secretary William Hague who earlier said London was shutting its embassy in Tehran and ordering the immediate closure of Iran's embassy to Britain. Iranian diplomats had until Friday to leave the country, Hague said.
The announcement was in response to Tuesday's storming of Britain's embassy in Tehran by Iranian protesters who Hague said were likely sent by the Islamic republic's rulers.
"We (parliament) reduced diplomatic ties (with Britain) but public opinion is pleased that British diplomats are no longer in Iran," Brujerdi said.
"We recommend other European nations not follow the policies of Britain and the United States," Brujerdi said.
The United States cut all diplomatic ties with Iran after Islamic students broke into its embassy in 1979 and took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.
Britain, which said it has reduced ties with Iran to a minimum, announced the closure of its embassy and that of Iran after violent scenes by protesters Tuesday against its mission in Tehran.
The protesters tore down the British flag, smashed windows, trashed embassy offices, set documents alight, and briefly blocked the movements of six British diplomats. No British personnel were hurt, having taken refuge in secure areas.
Iranian police, initially inactive, ultimately forced the protesters to leave after firing tear gas and clashing with them.
Hague, speaking to parliament, said relations with Iran were strained over its nuclear programme, but that "no difficulty in relations can ever excuse in any way or under any circumstances the failure to protect diplomatic staff and diplomatic premises."
Britain announced last week that it was halting all transactions with Iran's financial system, including its central bank.
Iranian officials this week retaliated by passing a law kicking out the British ambassador and downgrading diplomatic ties.
© 2011 AFP