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Iranian protesters burning foreign flags outside the British embassy in Tehran yesterday. AP Photo/Vahid Salemi/PA Images

France recalls ambassador to Iran

The French government’s move follows the UK’s decision to pull its diplomatic staff from Tehran and shut the Iranian embassy in London.

JUST HOURS AFTER the UK announced it was pulling its diplomatic staff from the British embassy in Tehran, France says it is recalling is ambassador to Paris for consultation.

The British embassy came under attack in Tehran yesterday, as hundreds of protesters chanted “Death to England” stormed the compound, smashing windows and burning representations of the Union Jack.

The protest was reportedly a response to Britain’s recent decision to impose further economic sanctions against Iran which involve cutting all ties between Iranian banks and financial institutions in Britain. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne had said the move was being taken to ensure British banks were not helping to fund Iran’s contentious nuclear programme.

Today, Britain’s foreign secretary William Hague criticised Iran’s failure to protect the British embassy yesterday, describing it as “a breach of international responsibilities of which any nation should be ashamed”.

Hague also announced the expulsion of all Iranian diplomatic staff from Britain and the closure of the Iranian embassy in London, saying: “If any country makes it impossible for us to operate on their soil they cannot expect to have a functioning embassy here.”

Reuters reports that the spokesman for the French foreign ministry said today that Sarkozy’s government would push for extra sanctions against Iran during tomorrow’s EU foreign ministers’ meeting.

French foreign minister Alain Juppe said in an interview conducted before the British embassy attack that France would push for sanctions blocking the importation of Iranian oil and freezing the Iranian central bank’s assets. The Guardian reports that France is likely to be supported in its push for sanctions by Hague.

Read more: UK expels all Iranian diplomats, closes embassy >

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