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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Britain evacuates diplomats from Iran; Tehran defiant

RIA Novosti

13:45 30/11/2011 MOSCOW, November 30 (RIA Novosti) - The U.K. has evacuated all diplomatic staff from Iran following Tuesday’s attack on its embassy in Tehran by Iranian protesters, local media reported on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Iranian authorities lashed out at the United States and Britain on Wednesday in response to the UN Security Council's strong condemnation of the attack issued by the late Tuesday.

“The UN Security Council's hasty condemnation of the Iranian students’ action seeks to conceal U.S. and British crimes, whereas Iranian police forces have tried to keep the peace,” Iranian news agency ISNA reported on Wednesday, quoting Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani.

Iranian protesters stormed the British Embassy in Tehran yesterday after rallying against sanctions the U.K. imposed on Iran earlier this month.

The crowd, mostly students, attacked the embassy compound, tore down the British flag and replaced it with Iran’s. They also ransacked offices in the compound, throwing stone and Molotov cocktails at embassy buildings, which caused a fire in one of them.

The British government said it was "outraged" by the incident. A Foreign Office spokesman called on the Iranian authorities to "act urgently to bring the situation under control.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the attack in a statement and called on Iranian authorities to provide security for all foreign diplomatic missions.

In addition, the UN Security Council issued a statement on Tuesday condemning the attack and calling on the Iranian authorities to provide proper protection for diplomats.

The attack was part of a larger demonstration that followed a decision by the Iranian authorities to expel the British ambassador from the country within 15 days. The relevant parliamentary bill was approved by Iranian lawmakers on Monday after Britain announced in mid-November that it was cutting off all ties with the Islamic Republic’s financial sector.

The decision was part of unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran by Britain, the United States and Canada following the publication of an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran’s nuclear program earlier in November. According to the report, Iran worked to develop a nuclear bomb at least up until last year.

Tehran denies the Western allegations that its nuclear program is aimed at building weapons, saying it needs nuclear energy to generate electricity.

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