Iran has announced the recall of 40 ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions, as hard-liners tighten their grip on foreign policy, following the June election of conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Iranian media quote Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki as saying some of the diplomats, appointed by the former reformist government, have asked for early retirement. He said the terms of many envoys had expired and that all 40 diplomats would be replaced.
They include Iran's envoys to London, Berlin and Paris, who have been involved in months of delicate negotiations with Europe over Iran's nuclear program.
In other developments, British Prime Minister Tony Blair says the international community will not put up with Tehran's continued support for terrorism in the Middle East and elsewhere. But he told British lawmakers that military action against Iran is not contemplated.
Mr. Blair strongly condemned Iran last week after President Ahmadinejad said Israel should be "wiped off the map."
Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.