Iranian diplomats leave UK after expulsion order

ByREUTERS
December 2, 2011 19:33

Envoys return to Iran in line with Hague's statement, British Foreign Office says; crowds chant "Death to Britain" in Tehran.




Iranian flag at embassy in Britain

Iran flag at Britain embassy 311 R. (photo credit:REUTERS/Stringer .)

All Iranian diplomats left Britain on Friday after being expelled in protest at the storming by protesters of the British embassy in Tehran, a government spokesman said.

"I can confirm that, earlier this afternoon, all diplomatic staff of the Iranian Embassy in London took off from Heathrow airport. They are returning to Iran in line with the Foreign Secretary's (William Hague) statement to parliament on Wednesday," a Foreign Office spokesman said.

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Meanwhile, crowds chanted "Death to Britain" at Tehran University after Friday prayers as a hardline Iranian cleric warned the UN and European Union against siding with London after the embassy attack.

Cleric Ahmad Khatami denounced those who tied themselves to "the rotten rope of Britain" including the EU - which may slap more sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program - as a group involved in the embassy's ransacking prepared to give Iranian diplomats expelled from Britain a hero's welcome home.


Britain evacuated its diplomats from Tehran and closed down the Iranian embassy in London after scores of Basiji militia men and radical students sacked the embassy and a residential compound on Tuesday.


In response, the biggest EU countries withdrew their ambassadors and the United Nations Security Council said it "condemned in the strongest terms" the attack.

Khatami told worshippers that the Security Council was showing itself to be as bad Britain, which Iranian hardliners believe is plotting to bring down their Islamic system.


"Issuing a statement against Iran means falling into a well with the rotten rope of Britain," Khatami said to chants of "Death to Britain."

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