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LONDON - Britain said on Wednesday it had ordered the
immediate closure of Iran's embassy in London and had closed its own
embassy in Tehran after it was stormed by protesters."The
Iranian charge (d'affaires) in London is being informed now that we
require the immediate closure of the Iranian embassy in London and that
all Iranian diplomatic staff must leave the United Kingdom within the
next 48 hours," British Foreign Secretary William Hague told parliament.
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RELATED:Britain downplays hostage crisis at embassy in IranWestern leaders demand Iran protect UK diplomats"We
have now closed the British embassy in Tehran. We have decided to
evacuate all our staff and as of the last few minutes, the last of our
UK-based staff have now left Iran," he said.Hague also announced that Iranian ambassadors had been
summoned in countries across Europe to receive strong protests over the
storming of the British embassy.
Britain, locked in a confrontation with Iran over its nuclear
activities, has voiced outrage over the ransacking of its diplomatic
premises in Tehran on Tuesday by hardline students and Basij militia in
revenge for new British and Western sanctions.
"If any country makes it impossible for us to operate on their soil they
cannot expect to have a functioning embassy here," Hague said.
"This does not amount to the severing of diplomatic relations in their
entirety. It is action that reduces our relations with Iran to the
lowest level consistent with the maintenance of diplomatic relations,"
Hague said it was "fanciful" to think the Iranian authorities could not
have protected the British embassy, or that the assault could have taken
place without "some degree of regime consent".
He said European Union foreign ministers would discuss the embassy
attack at a meeting in Brussels later on Wednesday and on Thursday. The
EU ministers would discuss "further action which needs to be taken in
the light of Iran's continued pursuit of a nuclear weapons program," he
said.German media reported on Wednesday that Germany has recalled its ambassador to Iran for consultation after the British diplomatic mission in Tehran was stormed on Tuesday. Spiegel Online on its website cited the German Foreign Ministry as saying Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle had decided to recall the ambassador. Magazine Stern also reported the ambassador has been called back to Germany.According to the website of the German embassy in Tehran, the current ambassador is Bernd Ebel.Earlier on Wednesday, a German government spokesman said that Germany had not reduced personnel at its embassy in Tehran. Germany said late on Tuesday it had summoned Iran's ambassador to discuss the storming of the British embassy.
By ARIEL BEN SOLOMON AND REUTERS
By HERB KEINON AND KHALED ABU TOAMEH
By BEN HARTMAN
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