Britain has ordered the immediate closure of Iran’s embassy in London and closed its own embassy in Tehran after it was stormed by protesters.
“The Iranian charge [d’affaires] in London is being informed now that we require the immediate closure of the Iranian embassy in London and that all Iranian diplomatic staff must leave the United Kingdom within the next 48 hours,” British Foreign Minister William Hague told parliament on Wednesday.
“We have now closed the British embassy in Tehran. We have decided to evacuate all our staff and as of the last few minutes, the last of our UK-based staff have now left Iran.”
Hague also announced that Iranian ambassadors had been summoned in countries across Europe to receive strong protests over the storming of the embassy.
The move is a significant one, Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons reported from London, that amounts to a “firm warning” to Tehran.
It marks “a complete split in diplomatic relations, not cut off completely but [downgraded to] the lowest level,” Simmons said.
British response ‘hasty’
Iran’s foreign ministry, meanwhile, said shortly after Hague’s announcement that the move to close the embassy was “hasty” and that Iran would be taking “further appropriate action”, according to state television reports.
Britain has voiced outrage over the ransacking of its diplomatic premises in Tehran on Tuesday by hardline students and Basij armed men in revenge for new British and…