News / Europe

Britain Withdraws Some Diplomats From Iran

Protesters remove the flag of the British embassy in Tehran, November 29, 2011.
Protesters remove the flag of the British embassy in Tehran, November 29, 2011.
Henry Ridgwell

The British government is pulling some diplomatic staff out of Iran following Tuesday's attack on its embassy in Tehran by a group of protesters. On Sunday, Iranian lawmakers voted to weaken diplomatic ties after Britain imposed new sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear program.

Related report by Henry Ridgwell

Hundreds of students gathered Tuesday outside the British Embassy in Tehran to protest against the sanctions, chanting "Death to Britain."

Several demonstrators scaled the fence before ransacking the buildings. One protestor appeared to be waving a portrait of the British Queen. Staff fled the embassy through a back door.

Regrets not enough

Iran expressed regret over the incident. But Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague said that was not good enough.

"We hold the Iranian government responsible for its failure to take adequate measures to protect our embassy as it is required to do... Clearly there will be other, further, and serious consequences," he said.

Britain is urging its citizens in Iran to "stay indoors and keep a low profile," he said.

The attack comes two days after the Iranian parliament voted to downgrade diplomatic relations with London.

Increased pressure

Last week, Britain strengthened sanctions against Iran, cutting all links with its banks. The US and Canada also tightened their sanctions.

It follows a report from the UN’s nuclear watchdog the IAEA, suggesting Tehran is still pursuing a nuclear weapon.

Andrea Berger of London analyst group RUSI says the report stretched the West’s patience with Iran.

"The diplomatic avenue in compelling Iran to renounce nuclear weapons is perhaps not going to be pursued as actively as it may have been in the past, and we may be moving towards increasingly harsh approaches such as sanctions," said Berger.

Despite the sudden escalation of tensions, Berger says the IAEA report does not suggest Iran is on the brink of becoming a nuclear power.

"The report’s inconclusiveness of the current developments in possible military dimensions suggests that there is no smoking gun. However that’s no reason for complacency on the part of major countries pursuing policies such as sanctions," Berger said.

British media is comparing Tuesday’s scenes to the storming of the U.S. Embassy in 1979, when militants held 52 Americans hostage for over a year.

Additional reaction

President Obama said he was ‘disturbed’ by the attack on the British Embassy.

The UN Security Council condemned also condemned the incident.

Analysts say that in the space of a few days, Western relations with Iran have taken a dramatic turn for the worse.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video VOA ‘Town Hall’ Shines Light on Ebola Crisis

Experts call for greater speed in identification and treatment of deadly disease More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

Funding Program Helps Extremely Poor in Ghana

Broad objective for Ghana's social cash transfer program is to lessen the impact of poverty on the most vulnerable people, elderly, orphans, those with disabilities More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid