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Britain Quits Embassy in Tehran

Great Britain has quit Iran, ordering all staff to evacuate and return home after its Tehran embassy was destroyed by protesters.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 11/30/2011, 9:37 AM

British Prime Minister David Cameron
British Prime Minister David Cameron
Flash 90

Great Britain has quit the Islamic Republic, ordering its embassy personnel to evacuate the building and return home one day after rioting protesters stormed its embassy in Tehran.

The embassy officially shut down early Wednesday, with British Prime Minister David Cameron calling the attack "outrageous and indefensible," AFP reported. He warned Iran that Tuesday's attack on the building, which by international laws of diplomacy is considered sovereign British soil, would have "severe consequences."

Attackers ransacked the British embassy in the Iranian capital Tuesday, smashing windows and hurling firebombs. The protesters vowed to continue acting against British interests in Iran until all relations between the two countries are completely severed.

The attack came three days after Iran ordered the British Ambassador to leave the country following a downgrading of relations between the two countries.

Government authorities quietly egged on the attack, with Tehran police withholding any action against the protesters until the British embassy compound was completely destroyed.

A subsequent token apology for the student protesters' violence issued by the Iranian government was rejected by the British government.

The United States, whose embassies have been attacked in other volatile areas in the past, strongly condemned the attack. Israel's Cairo embassy was attacked several months ago and its remaining guards evacuated at the last minute before the mob outside could enter.