Britain’s Ambassador in Tehran and four European counterparts are to boycott today’s celebrations of the 31st anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, which the opposition hopes to turn into another massive demonstration against the regime.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said that Simon Gass would not attend the official events in Azadi Square because of a “range of problems” between Britain and the Iran. The regime refused to accept the deputy head of mission instead, and threatened to prevent the ambassador from holding any future meetings with officials or ministers.
Mr Gass attracted criticism for attending President Ahmadinejad’s inauguration after his hotly disputed re-election last summer. Since then relations have deteriorated, with Iran repeatedly accusing Britain of fomenting unrest and its Foreign Minister declaring recently that Britain deserved a “slap in the mouth”.
The French, German, Italian and Dutch ambassadors are also understood to be boycotting the ceremony. Regime supporters staged ugly demonstrations outside their embassies on Monday to protest at Europe’s attitude towards Iran’s nuclear programme.