Sarkozy slams 'scandalous' attack on British embassy in Iran

30th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has firmly condemned the "scandalous" storming of the British mission in Tehran by an angry mob, the French government said on Wednesday.

Separately, the foreign ministry said it had summoned Iran's charge d'affaires in Paris to hear a protest over the attack, and that France was pushing for a new round of European Union sanctions.

During a cabinet session, "the president firmly condemned the scandalous attack on the embassy of Great Britain" which he said justified a decision to impose new sanctions on Iran, Budget Minister Valerie Pecresse told reporters.

The protesters rampaged for hours through two diplomatic compounds on Tuesday, tearing down the British flag, smashing windows, trashing offices, setting fires and briefly blocking the movements of six British diplomats.

The protesters had demonstrated in front of the compounds with the approval of authorities, to reflect official anger at Britain's announcement last week that it was cutting all relations with Iran's financial sector.

France has been pushing its EU partners to join Britain, the United States and Canada in imposing new sanctions in order to pressure Iran into halting its nuclear fuel enrichment programme.

Western powers believe Iran's atomic power programme is cover for a plan -- denied by Tehran -- to build a nuclear weapon.

France announced this month it will stop buying Iranian oil on a "national basis" as part of the sanctions campaign.

© 2011 AFP

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