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Iran to become diplomatic outcast?

Published time: November 30, 2011 16:59
Edited time: December 04, 2011 10:57

Tehran: Iranian protesters burn the British flag outside the embassy in Tehran on November 29, 2011. (AFP Photo/Atta Kenare)

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All UK’s diplomatic ties with Iran have been ruptured after Britain pulled out all its staff from its embassy in Tehran and set a 48-hour deadline for Iranian diplomats to leave the UK. Britain’s allies in the EU are joining the move.

­Italy may become the next country to break diplomatic relations with Iran, as the Italian foreign minister has said that his country is considering closing its embassy in Tehran, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, Germany has recalled its ambassador from Iran. The diplomat has been asked to return to Germany for “consultations,” Al-Arabia reports. However Germany has not yet cut personnel at its Tehran embassy.

On Wednesday, Britain’s foreign secretary William Hague ordered the closure of the UK embassy in Iran, withdrawing all staff from the country. According to Hague, this was done due to safety reasons. At the same time, speaking in the House of Commons, Hague said that Britain has also ordered all Iranian diplomats to leave the UK within two days.

Norway closed its embassy in Tehran late on Tuesday over security concerns, but diplomatic staff have not yet been evacuated. Norway’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Hilde Steinfeld, said the decision was made “in connection with the attack on the British embassy.”

The diplomatic jam between the countries was caused by Tuesday’s attack on the British embassy in Tehran. A group of protesters outraged by Britain's support of tighter sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program stormed the embassy, showering it with stones and petrol bombs and forcing diplomatic staff to escape through the back door.

In the wake of Tuesday’s attack, Iran’s foreign ministry issued a statement, expressing regret about the protesters’ behavior and promising that Iran is committed to finding and punishing those guilty. But Britain is standing its ground, believing that the assaults could not take place without support from the Iranian regime.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron said that Iran's failure to defend the embassy and its staff during Tuesday’s attack was a disgrace and would have "serious consequences."

"We will consider taking some very tough action in response to this completely disgraceful and appalling action by the Iranians," Cameron said.

A meeting of European Union foreign ministers has been scheduled for Thursday, when Britain, along with its allies, is expected to discuss those “consequences” for Iran. 

Middle East expert Sukant Chandan believes the West is to blame for the breakdown in diplomatic relations as it struggles to maintain its global domination.

The West is engaged in a constant war and domination against all people who resist their domination, so Iran and Syria are definitely up on the cards and the conflagration will engulf the whole of the Middle East, with Hezbollah entering into the fray as well as President Assad.” He told RT.

He also warned that Britain’s actions could encourage some Iranians and Syrians to sabotage the Olympic Games in London next year.

Shirin Shafaie from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, who is also a member of the Campaign Against Military Intervention in Iran, believes that a breakdown of diplomatic communication channels with Iran is a symptom of a much larger problem between Iran and the West in general.

“The West has not hesitated to use any excuse whatsoever to seize diplomatic relations with Iran,” she said. “These are all confrontational steps which the Europeans decided to take. These are not productive and negotiations should be restored as soon as possible in order to avoid much more escalation.”

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