Britain orders expulsion of all Iran diplomatic staff within 48 hours

Following attack on U.K. embassy in Tehran, British Foreign Secretary Hague says his country closed its Iran embassy, now orders Iran to immediately close its embassy in London.

 Haaretz

Britain has told Iran to close its embassy in London within 48 hours, Foreign Secretary William Hague told parliament in London Wednesday.

He said Britain had closed its embassy in Tehran and evacuated all staff.

“The Iranian charge (d’affaires) in London is being informed now that we require the immediate closure of the Iranian embassy in London and that all Iranian diplomatic staff must leave the United Kingdom within the next 48 hours,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague told parliament.

“We have now closed the British embassy in Tehran. We have decided to evacuate all our staff and as of the last few minutes, the last of our UK-based staff have now left Iran,” he said.

Iranian protesters stormed two British Embassy compounds in Tehran on Tuesday, smashing windows, hurling petrol bombs and burning the British flag during a rally to protest against sanctions imposed by Britain, live Iranian television showed.

Meanwhile, German media reported Wednesday that Germany has recalled its ambassador to Iran for consultation after the British diplomatic mission in Tehran was stormed on Tuesday.

Moreover, Italy’s foreign minister also announced Wednesday that his country is considering closing its embassy in Tehran.

The attacks followed the rapid approval by Iran’s Guardian Council of a parliamentary bill compelling the government to expel the British ambassador in retaliation for the sanctions, and warnings from a lawmaker that angry Iranians could storm the British embassy as they did to the U.S. mission in 1979.

The incident followed Britain’s imposition of new sanctions on the Islamic state last week over its nuclear program.

London banned all British financial institutions from doing business with their Iranian counterparts, including the Central Bank of Iran, as part of a new wave of sanctions by Western countries.

In London, Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain expected other countries to follow its lead in imposing financial sanctions on Iran and will take “robust” action if Tehran reduces their diplomatic relations.

Hague was speaking in a parliamentary debate as news broke of the incident in Tehran but he made no comment on it.

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