US demands clarity from Iran on diplomats

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The United States Wednesday demanded "clarity" from Iran on whether it will protect foreign diplomats, as the fallout widened from the raid on the British embassy in Tehran.

The White House also backed Britain's move in expelling Iranian diplomats in London in reprisal for the raid, which further hiked tensions between Tehran and the West as a nuclear standoff deepens.

"We are looking for some clarity from the Iranian regime that they're going to live up to their international obligations to protect the welfare and safety of diplomats," said Josh Earnest, a White House spokesman.

Earnest also called on Iran to condemn "mob actions" at the British embassy, and demanded that those who perpetrated the raid be held accountable.

"We're obviously relieved that the British diplomats seem to have safely exited Iran," Earnest said aboard Air Force One.

"We have seen the reports that the British government has asked all the Iranian diplomats to leave London. We support our British allies in that request."

Britain expelled Iranian diplomats from London and shut its embassy in Tehran on Wednesday after the mission was attacked by protesters angry at fresh sanctions against the Islamic republic's nuclear program.

Foreign Secretary William Hague also accused the Iranian government of tacit support for Tuesday's attack, although he said London would not be cutting off diplomatic ties altogether.

France, Sweden and Germany also recalled their ambassadors from Tehran for consultations.

© 2011 AFP

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