Western leaders demand Iran protect UK diplomats

Iran Foreign Ministry says it regrets "protests [at British embassy] led to some unacceptable behaviors."

November 29, 2011 19:42
2 minute read.
protesters remove UK emblem from embassy in Tehran

protesters remove UK emblem from embassy in Tehran_311. (photo credit: Reuters)


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Western diplomats from the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States condemned an attack by angry demonstrators on British embassy property in Tehran on Tuesday, calling on Iran to protect Britain's diplomats.

The UK urged Iran to take urgent action to bring the situation under control after reports that protesters stormed two British embassy compounds in Tehran.

Iran body passes law expelling British ambassador
Tehran: Protesters storm 2 British embassy compounds

"Senior officials have spoken to the Iranian charge (senior diplomat) in London to urge the Iranian authorities to act with utmost urgency to ensure the situation is brought under control and to protect our diplomatic compound, as they are obliged to do under international law," Britain's Foreign Office said in a statement.

The Foreign Office also updated its travel advice on Iran, advising Britons in the country to stay indoors and keep a low profile.

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Earlier, the UK Foreign Office said in a statement that it was "outraged" by the incursion into British property, and said that the UK "condemned it."

A spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the attack by protesters on two British diplomatic compounds was a "totally unacceptable incursion".

"It is with extreme concern that we have learned that the premises of the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Tehran have been overrun by demonstrators," Maja Kocijancic said.

"We strongly condemn this totally unacceptable incursion and call on the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran immediately to fulfil its international obligations... to protect diplomats and embassies."

US President Barack Obama strongly urged the Iranian government to take to task those responsible for storming the British embassy in Tehran.


"All of us are deeply disturbed by the crashing of the ... embassy," he said during a meeting at the White House with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

"I strongly urge the Iranian government to hold those responsible to task," Obama said, calling on Iran's government to respond quickly.

"We expect to see some sort of definitive action some time very quickly," he said during the Oval Office meeting.

The US pledged support to its British ally after the attack, also condemning the attack in the "strongest terms."

"Iran has a responsibility to protect the diplomatic missions present in its country and the personnel stationed at them," White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement. "We urge Iran to fully respect its international obligations, to condemn the incident, to prosecute the offenders, and to ensure that no further such incidents take place either at the British Embassy or any other mission in Iran. Our State Department is in close contact with the British government and we stand ready to support our allies at this difficult time," Carney said.

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.

"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.

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