Iran speaker criticises UN reaction to embassy storming

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The speaker of Iran's parliament, Ali Larijani, accused the UN Security Council on Wednesday of being "hasty" in condemning Iran for the storming of Britain's embassy the day before, state television reported.

He argued in parliament that Britain was to blame for the high emotions underpinning the violent scenes, in which protesters overran the two British diplomatic compounds in Tehran ripping down the British flag and trashing embassy offices.

"The hasty move at the Security Council in condemning the student movement, aims to cover up the past crimes of Britain and America, and this, despite the fact that police had tried to maintain calm," he was quoted as saying.

"Yesterday (Tuesday), a number of students angered by the British government's behaviour protested outside the embassy and a number also entered the embassy.

"This anger is an outcome of decades of domineering moves by the British in Iran," he said.

He said parliament was calling for calm -- but that it believed Britain and the United States were "seeking to exploit" the embassy storming.

He also questioned why the UN Security Council did not condemn Britain in 1980, when "counter-revolutionaries" took hostages in Iran's embassy in London. In that incident, Britain's government sent in commandos who killed most of the hostage-takers and saved all but one of the hostages.

The 15-member Security Council on Tuesday issued a statement condemning "in the strongest terms" the attacks on the British compounds, although it made no mention of any repercussions for Iran.

Highlighting the Vienna conventions which protect diplomats, the Council "called on the Iranian authorities to protect diplomatic and consular property and personnel, and to respect fully their international obligations in this regard."

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also issued a statement Wednesday saying he was "shocked and outraged" at the attack on the British embassy in Tehran and urging Iranian authorities to prevent any repetition.

© 2011 AFP

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