Protesters attack Italy's embassy in Iran

Teheran summons Rome's envoy; protests also held at French, Dutch embassies.

February 9, 2010 17:28
1 minute read.
An Iranian protestor shows his hand with an anti-F

teheran france protest 311. (photo credit: AP)


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About 100 Iranians protested Tuesday in front of the Italian embassy in Teheran, shouting "Death to Italy, Death to Berlusconi, " Italy's foreign minister said. Protests were also held outside the French and Dutch embassies.

The protests came a week after Premier Silvio Berlusconi announced — in Israel — that Italy was scaling back its economic dealings with Iran and wanted tighter sanctions against the Teheran leadership. Italy has long been Teheran's biggest trading partner in the EU.

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Television footage of the protests shown on Sky TG 24 showed protesters throwing stones and eggs at the Italian embassy. Foreign Ministry officials said none of the protesters managed to get inside and that police intervened.

Frattini told the Senate that the protest was "hostile" and that the group tried to assault the building.

The Italian news agency ANSA, citing unidentified sources, reported Tuesday that the Iranian Foreign Ministry had summoned the Italian ambassador to protest Berlusconi's remarks in Israel.

Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency reported that a group of university students had gathered in the afternoon at the gates of the French and Italian embassies, which are next to each other in downtown Teheran.

The students hurled eggs and tomatoes at both buildings and denounced what they said was Italian and French support for Iran's opposition movement, the report said.

The protesters demanded Iran scale back its relations with both countries and they shouted the word "takeover" in a reference to the 1979 student takeover of the US Embassy.

Police stopped several students from removing a street sign on the wall of the Italian Embassy that says "Rome Street."

Frattini said there were no immediate plans to close the embassy and that any such decision would be made jointly with other EU countries. He said they would also discuss their level of participation during the annual celebration Thursday of the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

"Contacts are now under way to reach a joint position," he said.

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