NewsSpecial WireBritain fears occupation of Tehran embassy - report

Britain fears occupation of Tehran embassy – report

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Nov. 03 – Britain has taken sensitive documents and files from its embassy and the ambassador’s residence in Tehran, a day after Islamist students threatened to punish the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair “with consequences like the seizure of the den of U.S. spies”, a reference to the 1979 occupation of the United States embassy
in Tehran. Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Nov. 03 – Britain has taken sensitive documents and files from its embassy and the ambassador’s residence in Tehran, a day after Islamist students threatened to punish the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair “with consequences like the seizure of the den of U.S. spies”, a reference to the 1979 occupation of the United States embassy in Tehran.

Source in Tehran said embassy officials were seen clearing out the two premises, but no official announcements have been made.

Anglo-Iranian relations have become increasingly strained after London accused Tehran of illegal nuclear activities and backing insurgents responsible for the death of British troops in Iraq. Iran has countered by accusing British intelligence of having a hand in a spate of bombings this year in the oil-rich province of Khuzistan.

On Tuesday, the Association of Union of Islamic Students of Iranian Universities, a government-organised body, warned the British government to “stop your evil mischief against the Islamic Revolution, or face the consequences, like the seizure of the den of U.S. spies”, a menacing reference to the 1979 occupation of the United States embassy in Tehran by Islamist militants.

“We warn brutal and slavish regimes such as the British government to stop their evil mischief before the violent fires of the Muslim nation burn you, or else you will face consequences similar to the capture of the den of American spies”, the statement added.

Iran’s state-run dailies have been calling for the expulsion of the British ambassador to Tehran. Iran’s hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fired earlier this week the country’s ambassador to London, Mohammad-Hossein Adeli.

On Wednesday, a home-made bomb exploded outside the offices of British Petroleum (BP) and British Airways (BA) in the Iranian capital, while a senior Iranian official told a state-run news agency that the bombs might be a response to “the anti-Iranian stance taken by some countries”, fuelling speculation that Iran’s ruling hard-liners were behind the blast.

Police said the bomb caused minor damage. There were no injuries in the blast though several windows were shattered on the tenth floor of the Sayeh Tower which houses the British offices.

On August 2, a similar explosion damaged the offices of BA and BP at the same location.

The British embassy has also been the site of frequent attacks by Islamic radicals loyal to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. On several occasions Molotov cocktails have been hurled at the compound and its windows repeatedly shattered.

British Prime Minister recently censured Ahmadinejad for his threatening comments against the state of Israel, though he has said that there was no talk of military attacks on Iran at present.

Some analysts saw the conciliatory statements by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and his junior ministers towards Iran on Tuesday and Wednesday as an attempt by the Foreign Office to defuse rising tensions between the two countries.

Iran’s hard-line establishment has continued its virulent attacks on Britain, however, with the influential daily Kayhan, which is close to the Supreme Leader, accusing London of “creating crises in the region to serve its interests” and pursuing its “old colonial ambitions” in the Persian Gulf region.

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