Iranian demonstrators burn British flag 311 R.
(photo credit: Reuters)
said on Wednesday it had withdrawn some diplomatic staff from Tehran
after protesters stormed and ransacked its embassy in the Iranian
"The prime minister and foreign secretary have made
clear that ensuring the safety of our staff and their families is our
immediate priority," the UK Foreign Office said in a statement.
Britain downplays hostage crisis at embassy in Iran
Western leaders demand Iran protect UK diplomats
"In light of yesterday's events, and to ensure their ongoing safety, some staff are leaving Tehran," it added.
Earlier, Western diplomatic sources in Tehran told Reuters that Britain had evacuated all its diplomatic staff from Iran.
The events came in response to Iran's decision to expel the UK ambassador in response to economic sanctions imposed by Britain on Tehran.
The UN Security Council released a statement Tuesday condemning the protesters' actions "in the strongest terms." UNSC President Jose Filipe Moraes Cabral expressed the council members' "deep concern over the attacks" and called on the "Iranian authorities to protect diplomatic and consular property and personnel."
The speaker of Iran's parliament Wednesday criticized the Security Council statement and said it put
global security at risk. "The hasty move in the Security Council in condemning the students'
actions was done to cover up previous crimes of America and Britain
while the police did all they could to keep the peace," Ali Larijani
told parliament in an address broadcast live on state radio.
"This devious action will lead to instability in global security," he said.
British Prime Minister David Cameron chaired a meeting of the government
crisis committee Tuesday to discuss the attacks which he said were "outrageous
"The failure of the Iranian government to defend British staff and property was a disgrace," he said in a statement.
"The Iranian government must recognize that there will be serious
consequences for failing to protect our staff. We will consider what
these measures should be in the coming days."
The United States, alongside the European Union and many of its member states also strongly condemned the attacks.
China also criticized the storming of the compounds in Tehran Wednesday, opening a rare public crack in outwardly amicable relations with Iran.
"China has always maintained that the safety and dignity of diplomatic personnel and properties must be ensured and protected," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing in Beijing, in answer to a question about the incident.
"The attacks in question were contrary to international law and rules, and they should be appropriately dealt with," he said.