Top Iran MP lashes at Britain for shutting Tehran embassy
A prominent Iranian MP on Wednesday warned Britain of "repercussions" after it ordered the closure of the Islamic republic's embassy in London, and urged other European Union nations not to follow suit.
"Britain is responsible for all the repercussions of its action," Aladdin Brujerdi, chairman of Iranian parliamentary national security and foreign policy commission told the Tehran-based Al-Alam Arabic language satellite news channel.
He was 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