France reducing Tehran embassy staff: diplomat

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France has decided to temporarily downsize its embassy in Tehran as a precautionary measure following the storming of the British embassy earlier in the week, a French diplomat told AFP on Saturday.

The decision will affect part of the diplomatic staff as well as all of the families of French personnel at the embassy but not the French community in Tehran, the diplomatic source said.

More than half of the around 30 personnel at the French embassy, consulate, economic and culture centres bearing diplomatic or service passports could be affected, according to information gathered by AFP.

Personnel at the French school in Tehran will also be affected by the decision, the source said without providing more details.

No specific instruction to leave Iran has been given to the French community of around 800 people.

The decision comes after the violent incursion of Britain's diplomatic and residential compounds in Tehran Tuesday by hundreds of pro-regime Iranian protesters.

Britain, which evacuated all its own diplomats from Tehran for their safety after the attacks, closed its embassy and ordered Iran to do likewise in London.

Iran criticised the move and warned other EU nations backing Britain not to follow suit.

"Now the British government is trying to involve other European countries in our bilateral issue. But we have told the Europeans not to trouble relations with Iran because of Britain," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Saturday.

© 2011 AFP

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