Iran press gives front-page play to British embassy drama

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The front pages of Iran's leading dailies on Wednesday all covered the storming of the British embassy in Tehran by protesters, which sparked international condemnation.

All the newspapers said the Tuesday protesters were angry at Britain's decision last week to cut all relations with Iran's financial sector as part of a raft of new sanctions unveiled in coordination with the United States and Canada.

The storming of the compound prompted Britain on Wednesday to evacuate its diplomatic staff from Iran.

"Students occupied the British embassy," said a headline carried by the hardline Keyhan newspaper, which also printed a photograph of protesters on the British embassy wall.

Another conservative paper, Jomhuri Eslami, headlined: "Student protesters gather in the British embassy in Tehran."

The Mellat-e Ma daily, which is run by Mohsen Rezai, a former Revolutionary Guards commander and presidential candidate, headlined: "British embassy taken over in five minutes."

The government newspaper Iran also headlined the students taking the embassy and a second British compound.

The Hamshahri newspaper, which is run by the Tehran municipality, said the students were protesting "Britain's hostile stance".

The storming of Britain's embassy sparked international condemnation, including a strongly worded statement from the UN Security Council.

Iran's foreign ministry on Tuesday expressed "regret" over the incident, but some Iranian officials were defiant, blaming the dramatic scenes on Britain's stance towards their country.

© 2011 AFP

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