(photo credit: JPost Staff)
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague told the British parliament
Wednesday that he has ordered the Iranian Embassy in London to close. He
added that Iranian diplomats will be given 48 hours to leave the
country.Noting its seriousness, Hauge told lawmakers, however, that the
move did not amount to a complete severing of relations with the Islamic
Republic. Consular issues, he said, would be handled by other European
missions in Tehran.
Earlier Wednesday the UK said it had withdrawn some diplomatic staff from Tehran
after protesters stormed and ransacked its embassy in the Iranian
Britain downplays hostage crisis at embassy in Iran
Western leaders demand Iran protect UK diplomats
The events came in response to Iran's decision to expel the UK ambassador in response to economic sanctions imposed by Britain on Tehran.
also told British parliamentarians that all UK-based British diplomatic
staff had been evacuated from Iran prior to his announcement Wednesday.
Earlier Wednesday, UK Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain was considering taking "very tough action" after protesters stormed the country's embassy in Iran.
Cameron said his main concern was ensuring the safety of British embassy staff.
that we will consider taking some very tough action in response to this
completely appalling and disgraceful behavior by the Iranians," Cameron
"The prime minister and foreign secretary have made
clear that ensuring the safety of our staff and their families is our
immediate priority," the UK Foreign Office said in a statement.
"In light of yesterday's events, and to ensure their ongoing safety, some staff are leaving Tehran," it added.
Earlier, Western diplomatic sources in Tehran told Reuters that Britain had evacuated all its diplomatic staff from Iran.
UN Security Council released a statement Tuesday condemning the
protesters' actions "in the strongest terms." UNSC President Jose Filipe
Moraes Cabral expressed the council members' "deep concern over the
attacks" and called on the "Iranian authorities to protect diplomatic
and consular property and personnel."
The speaker of Iran's parliament Wednesday criticized the Security Council statement and said it put
global security at risk. "The hasty move in the Security Council in condemning the students'
actions was done to cover up previous crimes of America and Britain
while the police did all they could to keep the peace," Ali Larijani
told parliament in an address broadcast live on state radio.
"This devious action will lead to instability in global security," he said.
British Prime Minister David Cameron chaired a meeting of the government
crisis committee Tuesday to discuss the attacks which he said were "outrageous
"The failure of the Iranian government to defend British staff and property was a disgrace," he said in a statement.
"The Iranian government must recognize that there will be serious
consequences for failing to protect our staff. We will consider what
these measures should be in the coming days."
The United States, alongside the European Union and many of its member states also strongly condemned the attacks.
also criticized the storming of the compounds in Tehran Wednesday,
opening a rare public crack in outwardly amicable relations with Iran.
has always maintained that the safety and dignity of diplomatic
personnel and properties must be ensured and protected," Chinese Foreign
Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing in Beijing, in
answer to a question about the incident.
"The attacks in question were contrary to international law and rules, and they should be appropriately dealt with," he said.