'Britain evacuates all diplomatic staff from Iran'

November 30, 2011 08:40

Iranian Foreign Ministry "regrets" the protests; Cameron: "there will be serious consequences for failing to protect our staff."

Iranian demonstraters burn British flag

Iranian demonstrators burn British flag 311 R. (photo credit:Reuters)

Britain evacuated all its diplomatic staff from its embassy in Tehran Wednesday, according to Western diplomatic sources.

The move comes after protesters stormed two British Embassy compounds in Tehran Tuesday, smashing windows, hurling petrol bombs and burning the British flag in a protest against sanctions imposed by Britain.

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Iran's Guardian Council approved Monday a parliamentary bill compelling the government to expel the British ambassador in retaliation for the sanctions.

In the only official response from the Islamic Republic over Tuesday's incident at the British mission, Iran's Foreign Ministry said it regretted the storming of two British diplomatic compounds in Tehran, according to the students' news agency ISNA.

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"The foreign ministry regrets the protests that led to some unacceptable behaviors... We respect and we are committed to international regulations on the immunity and safety of diplomats and diplomatic places," the statement said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron chaired a meeting of the government crisis committee Tuesday to discuss the attacks which he said were "outrageous and indefensible."

"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.
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