Iran lawmakers mull downgrading ties with Britain

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Iranian lawmakers voted Wednesday to consider downgrading diplomatic ties with Britain in retaliation for newly imposed sanctions, state media reported.

The parliament introduced an emergency bill to go to a vote on Sunday on the issue, said the website of IRIB television.

Several lawmakers cried "Death to Britain" as the measure was adopted with 162 votes. Five deputies voted against.

The wording of the bill was not immediately divulged.

But the head of the parliamentary committee on foreign policy and national security, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, said he was asking the foreign ministry "to expel the British ambassador from the country," said the parliamentary website.

Britain on Monday, in coordination with the United States and Canada, announced new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme, after a report by the UN atomic energy watchdog this month suggesting Tehran was researching nuclear weapons.

Britain, which hosts the world's biggest financial market in the City of London, said it was "ceasing all contact" between its financial system and that of Iran.

Britain and Canada have embassies in Tehran. The United States does not, having closed it after Islamic students took its diplomats hostage in 1979 following Iran's revolution.

© 2011 AFP

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