Roughly two dozen diplomats at the Iranian embassy in London are scheduled to leave England on Friday after the UK government expelled them as retribution for attacks made against the British embassy in Tehran, the Associated Press reported.
Iranian protesters stormed the UK embassy in Tehran on Tuesday, destroying the property while shouting “dead to England.” Britain shut down the embassy, pulled out all of their diplomatic staff from Tehran and told Iranian diplomats in London to do the same.
"If any country makes it impossible for us to operate on their soil, they cannot expect to have a functioning embassy here," Foreign Secretary William Hague said Wednesday.
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British Prime Minister David Cameron said the attack on the the embassy was “outrageous” and “indefensible.” Hague added further “serious consequences” will happen as a result.
Britain and Iran’s rocky relationship have been strained in the past several years due to Iran’s nuclear enrichment program that led to new economic sanctions in November against Tehran. Tehran voted to downgrade diplomatic ties with Britain in response to the sanctions.
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Although Iran’s Foreign Ministry said they regretted the attack and blamed the incident on individual protesters, Hague said the assault was “clearly premeditated” and had “some degree of regime consent.”
Other European countries with diplomatic ties to Iran have also taken steps to consider pulling out their ambassadors.
Norway said it was temporarily closing its embassy in Tehran as a precaution on Wednesday while ambassadors from Germany, France were recalled for consultation, the BBC reported.