One day after a mob attacked British Embassy compounds in Tehran, the UK accused the Iranian regime of being complicit in the demonstrations and subsequently ordered the closure of the Iranian Embassy in London.
Foreign Secretary William Hague, in comments to the House of Commons posted on the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office website, said most of the demonstrators were from an organization “controlled by elements of the Iranian regime.”
On Wednesday, Hague said they have received confirmation that the Iranian diplomatic police “belatedly assisted” in stopping the attack and further pointed out that Iran’s past crackdown on protesters implies strongly their complicity in Tuesday’s violence.
Said Hague, “Iran is a country where Opposition leaders are under house arrest, more than 500 people have been executed so far this year and where genuine protest is ruthlessly stamped on. The idea that the Iranian authorities could not have protected our Embassy or that this assault could have taken place without some degree of regime consent is fanciful.”
As a result, Hague said they have closed their embassy in Tehran, decided to evacuate all their staff and have also ordered the closure of the Iranian Embassy in London. He said that all of the Iranian diplomatic staff had to leave the UK within 48 hours.
“If any country makes it impossible for us to operate on their soil they cannot expect to have a functioning embassy here,” said Hague.
Despite the serious diplomatic retaliation, Hague said they are not ending their relationship with Iran. He noted that there is still a reason for British and Iranian representatives to have contact, such as in negotiations on the Iranian nuclear program.
“This does not amount to the severing of diplomatic relations in their entirety,” said Hague. “It is action that reduces our relations with Iran to the lowest level consistent with the maintenance of diplomatic relations.”
The British actions come one day before Iran is set to be discussed at meeting of the European Union Foreign Affairs Council. Additional sanctions on Iran over their nuclear program were already expected to be discussed even before the attack on the UK embassy.
Hague expressed appreciation for the support from the United Nations, the United States, across Europe, Russia and elsewhere following the embassy incident.
The Iranian Fars News Agency had quoted Iranian students as linking Tuesday’s violence to British actions against Iran, including recently intensified financial sanctions.
In addition to unilateral action taken against Iran over their illicit nuclear activities, the UK is also a permanent member of the UN Security Council, which has passed its own sanctions. Hague made it clear that their roles would not be compromised by the embassy assault.
“As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a leading member of the EU, we are proud of the role our country plays in maintaining international peace and security and standing up for human rights all over the world,” said Hague. “If the Iranian Government thinks we will be diverted from these responsibilities by the intimidation of our Embassy staff they will be making a serious mistake.”
(By Staff, www.themideastupdate.com, November 30, 2011)