BRITAIN IS WITHDRAWING diplomatic staff from Iran following an attack on its embassy in Tehran yesterday.
Hundreds of anti-British protesters stormed the embassy building and residential compound, smashing widows, burning representations of the British flag, setting a car alight and shouting “Death to England”.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has strongly condemned the incident and warned that there will be “serious consequences” for the attack, reports the BBC. All embassy staff are safe and accounted for, Cameron said, however British officials were still attempting to discover the whereabouts of “locally engaged security staff” to ensure their well-being.
The protesters were reacting to Britain’s recent decision to impose further economic sanctions on Iran over its disputed nuclear programme, according to the New York Times.
The attack was reminiscent of the attack on the US embassy in 1979 after the Iranian Revolution, which was also preceded by increasingly strained ties between Iran and Western powers.
On Sunday, Iran’s parliament approved a bill to downgrade relations with Britain.
Call for all ties to be cut
Police eventually managed to expel the protesters from the building – but the demonstrators vowed to continue protesting until Iran cut all ties with Britain, reports Fars. Protesters pointed to “Britain’s companionship with the United States’ lies and warmongering moves and polices against Iran, specially on the country’s nuclear program, and its war rhetoric and threats of a military strike in recent weeks accompanied by bold sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran”.
Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed regret over the attack, describing the behaviour of some protesters as “unacceptable” and promising to take necessary measures through legal channels and relevant authorities against those responsible. In a statement, the Ministry reiterated “the commitment of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to safeguard and protect the diplomatic places and personnel. ”