Iran hardliners demand expulsion of UK ambassador

British ambassador criticizes Iran's human rights record; students protest, set British flag on fire; say UK is "Iran's most evil enemy."

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
December 12, 2010 19:38
1 minute read.
An Iranian woman.

iranian woman 311. (photo credit: AP)

 
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TEHERAN, Iran — Conservative Iranian lawmakers on Sunday demanded the expulsion of the British ambassador after he criticized the country's human rights record.

A group of hard line students also held a protest rally in front of the British Embassy in Teheran, trampling and then setting the British flag on fire and denouncing the United Kingdom as "Iran's most evil enemy."

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British Ambassador to Teheran Simon Gass angered Iranian authorities after he said in a comment posted on the embassy's website Thursday that lawyers, journalists and activists are nowhere under a greater threat than in Iran.

"Gass is a clear example of a persona non grata that must be expelled from Iran," the semi-official Fars news agency quoted hard line lawmaker Hossein Sobhaninia as saying Sunday.

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, a prominent conservative legislator, said Gass "must learn the ethics of being an ambassador." Another lawmaker, Kazem Jalali, said the parliament will discuss scaling down relations with Britain next week.

Hundreds of hardline students held a protest rally blaming Britain for the assassination of a prominent Iranian nuclear scientist last month.

Lawmaker Hamid Rasaei called the British Embassy a "house of spies" likening it to the former US Embassy in Teheran that was seized by militant students in 1979 and dozens of hostages were held for over a year.

The students also carried photos of Majid Shahriari and Masoud Ali Mohammadi, two slain nuclear scientists, one killed last month, the other back in January.

"We hold you responsible for martyring Shahriani and Ali Mohammadi," Rasaei said, addressing Britain.

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