UK Prime Minister David Cameron
Photo: EPA
William Hague
Photo: Reuters

UK expels Iranian ambassador

Following storming of UK Embassy in Tehran, London closes down Iranian Embassy, expels all diplomats; mulls supporting oil embargo on Islamic Republic. France, Germany Italy and Holland recalled ambassadors for consultations

Britain will expel all Iranian diplomats stationed in London following the storming of its embassy in Tehran on Tuesday, Foreign Secretary William Hague announced Wednesday.


Iranian diplomats of all levels were give 48 hours to leave Britain.


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Hague told the British Parliament that Iranian ambassadors across Europe have been summoned to receive strong protests over the raid.


   (Video: Reuters)


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"They cannot expect to have a functioning embassy here," he said, adding that despite the move, the UK was still "not severing ties with Iran entirely." Still, relations between London and Tehran have now been downgraded to the lowest level.


Iran said Britain's decision to close the Iranian embassy in London on Wednesday was "hasty" and that it would lead to further retaliation, state TV reported, quoting a government spokesman.


"The foreign ministry spokesman ... described the move as ... hasty and added that naturally the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran would take further appropriate action regarding the issue," the news reporter said.


Earlier Wednesday, London announced it was closing down its embassy in Iran and withdrawing all British diplomats stationed in the Islamic Republic. Shortly after, Hague ordered the immediate closure of the Iranian Embassy in London, effectively expelling all diplomatic staff.


Iran's parliament had previously voted to reduce diplomatic ties with the UK.


Tuesday's attack, which saw hundreds of protesters storm the British embassy followed Britain's decision to impose further sanctions on Iran over its adamant refusal to suspend its nuclear program.


Mob storming UK Embassy (Photo: EPA) 


Paris strongly condemned the raid and has summoned Iran's current senior envoy to the French capital over the incident.


French Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bernard Valero indicated that the Iranian Charge d'Affaires Amir Miri has been called in to the Ministry and was told that France "very firmly condemns the attack and unacceptable pillage" at the British mission.


France said on Wednesday it was recalling its ambassador from Iran for consultations.


Germany also summoned the Iranian ambassador to Berlin over the storming of the British embassy in Tehran, saying Iran was bound under international law to protect foreign missions.


"I gave the order today for the Iranian ambassador to be summoned to the Foreign Ministry," Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told reporters after talks with his Greek counterpart Stavros Dimas.


Germany has also recalled its ambassador from Iran for consultations, as have Italy and The Netherlands. 


Following recent events, britain may support an embargo on Iranian oil imports following, a diplomatic source said. "Now that the UK has downgraded diplomatic relations with Iran, it will support increased sanctions...and would likely go ahead with those sanctions unilaterally or with France and Germany," he said. 


Former UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband urges condemnations of Iran not to lead to a "drumbeat of war". William Hague says the UK is not advocating military action in Iran.


Reuters contributed to this report



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פרסום ראשון: 11.30.11, 16:25
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