The Iranian legislature has added Britain as an enemy in its diplomatic war on the West and has given the British ambassador two weeks to leave the country after passing a law that downgrades Britain’s diplomatic status to the level of charge d’affaires.
The law was passed with almost an absolute majority and was signed on Sunday, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency.
The four legislators opposing the bill said it did not go far enough and that diplomatic ties with London should be cut completely. The British ambassador, Dominic Chilcott, took up his post only a few ago following tension between the Islamic Republic and Britain.
Last week, Britain joined the United States to slap tougher sanctions on Iran in another attempt to force Iran to open up its nuclear facilities for full inspection by United Nations officials.
Fars also reported, “The British government has also embarked on delisting the anti-Iran terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) from its list of terrorist groups.” The MKO is a major opposition force against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Besides Iran’s angry at the sanctions, the government said it also was reacting to a 2009 report by former British Envoy to Tehran Simon Gass, who criticized Iran’s brutal suppression of protests following the apparently rigged re-election of Ahmadinejad.
He wrote in a memo published by the British embassy in Tehran, “International Human Rights Day is highlighting the cases of those people around the world who stand up for the rights of others… Nowhere are they under greater threat than in Iran. Since last year human rights defenders have been harassed and imprisoned.”
Fars said Britain was supporting “a group of wild demonstrators who disrespected Islamic sanctities and damaged private and public amenities and properties in Tehran on December 27, 2009.”