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In PHOTOS: British embassy in Iran stormed

Last updated on: November 30, 2011 02:22 IST

In PHOTOS: British embassy in Iran stormed

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Iranian students stormed British diplomatic sites in Tehran on Tuesday, bringing down the Union Jack flag, burning an embassy vehicle and throwing documents from windows in scenes reminiscent of the seizing of the US compound in 1979.

The protesters threw stones at embassy windows, breaking them, and one demonstrator was seen climbing the wall with a looted portrait of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II.


The attack comes amid heightened tensions following Iran's decision to pass a law to expel London's ambassador to Tehran in retaliation for new British sanctions that cut off all ties with Iran's financial sector. The sanctions are aimed at putting more pressure on Iran to halt its controversial nuclear programme.

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Image: A protesters removes the emblem from the British embassy
Photographs: Reuters
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In PHOTOS: British embassy in Iran stormed

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The assault, reported by Iranian news services and broadcast on Iranian television, ended after several hours 


Terming the storming of its embassy in Iran as "outrageous and indefensible", Britain has warned that there would be serious consequences for Tehran.

"The attack on the British embassy in Tehran on Tuesday was outrageous and indefensible," Prime Minister David Cameron said.

He said those responsible for the attack must be prosecuted.

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Image: A protester walks away from the embassy with a Pulp Fiction poster
Photographs: Reuters
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In PHOTOS: British embassy in Iran stormed

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Cameron said the Iranian government will face "serious consequences" for "its unacceptable failure" to protect diplomats in line with international law.

 

Condemning the incursion by demonstrators into the embassy premises in Tehran, the Foreign Office said a significant number of demonstrators entered into the embassy premises and vandalised the property.

Foreign minister William Hague said Britain took the storming of its embassy in Tehran on Tuesday "extremely seriously" and warned there would be "further and serious consequences" for Iran.

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Image: Protesters remove a satellite dish from a building near the gate of the British Embassy
Photographs: Reuters
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In PHOTOS: British embassy in Iran stormed

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"Under international law, including the Vienna Convention, the Iranian government has a clear duty to protect diplomats and Embassies in their country and expect them to act urgently to bring the situation under control and ensure the safety of our staff and security of our property," the spokesman added.

 

The United States and European Union also rushed to condemn the assault, and representatives at the United Nations Security Council were reported to be conferring about issuing a statement that would call upon Iran to protect foreign diplomats and embassy property.

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Image: Protesters walk in the British embassy compound as an embassy car burns
Photographs: Reuters
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In PHOTOS: British embassy in Iran stormed

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Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency said police officers freed six British staff members who had been surrounded by the Qolhak Garden protesters and that 12 of those protesters were later arrested

 

Fars said the police had to use tear gas to disperse some protesters inside the embassy grounds and that "a number of protesters have been wounded."

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Image: Police chase protesters as they enter the gate of the British embassy
Photographs: Reuters
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It was the most serious violence targeting the British embassy in Tehran since relations were restored in 1990 following a break caused by Iranian outrage over the 1988 publication of the "The Satanic Verses" by Salman Rushdie, the Indian-British novelist. The book caused a furor in the Islamic world because it was considered sacrilegious.

 

Images transmitted from the scene showed riot police standing by during the assault and later helping protesters inside the embassy grounds go back to the street outside.

Press TV, a government news Web site, said police dispersed the demonstrators and were "protecting the embassy building and the documents inside."

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Image: Protesters enter the gate of the British embassy in Tehran
Photographs: Reuters
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