Iran protesters storm British embassy

Xinhua news agency

ANGRY Iranian protesters broke into the British embassy compound in Tehran on Tuesday and dragged down the British flag. Chanting anti-British slogans, the protesters, most of them students from Tehran universities, urged the government to expel the British ambassador from Iran.

Some of the protesters clashed with riot police and climbed over the gate of the compound. The riot police were unable to prevent them from entering the embassy. The protesters set fire to the Union Jack after dragging it down and replaced it with the flag of the Islamic Republic.

Some protesters smashed the windows of the embassy and entered the building removing documents which were then set on fire.

The rampage came one day after Iran’s highest legislative body, the Guardian Council of the Constitution, unanimously approved reducing diplomatic ties with Britain in response to its “hostile” policy against Iran.

Britain severed all links with the Iranian banks last week as part of its new financial sanctions in the wake of a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency that expressed concerns over Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme.

Iran’s Majlis, or parliament, on Sunday voted to reduce the country’s diplomatic ties with Britain and sent the bill to the Guardian Council for the final approval.

The bill, which turned into law after the Guardian Council’s endorsement on Monday, requires the Iranian Foreign Ministry to downgrade diplomatic ties with Britain from the ambassador level to the level of chargé d’affaires within two weeks.

It also calls on the government of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to reduce economic and trade relations with Britain to the lowest level.