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Britain closes embassy in Tehran after attacks

November 30, 2011 |  7:16 am


REPORTING FROM BEIRUT -- Britain said Wednesday that it had closed its embassy in Tehran and was giving Iranian diplomats 48 hours to leave London.

The announcement came the day after hundreds of Iranian demonstrators stormed the British Embassy and another diplomatic compound in Tehran, hurling gasoline bombs, ransacking homes and offices, and tearing down the British flag.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the attacks could not have taken place without "some degree of regime consent."

"If any country makes it impossible for us to operate on their soil, they cannot expect to have a functioning embassy here," Hague said in a statement to the House of Commons in London.

But he stopped short of severing all ties with Tehran, saying Britain would maintain contacts concerning Iran's disputed nuclear program and allegations of human rights abuses.

Tuesday's attacks drew strong rebukes from the U.N. Security Council, the United States, France and other nations. Norway said it was also closing its embassy.

Iran has expressed regret for the actions of what it said were a small number of demonstrators and promised to investigate.

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-- Alexandra Zavis


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