'Death to England' Still Scrawled UK Iran Embassy

Iran didn't bother to remove or even cover up graffiti in embassy - including above Queen's portrait - for British FM's historic visit.

Ari Yashar ,

'Death to England' by Queen Elizabeth's portrait at Tehran embassy
'Death to England' by Queen Elizabeth's portrait at Tehran embassy

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on Sunday reopened the UK embassy in Tehran that had been stormed by government backed rioters in 2011, but the rapprochement was given an air of irony by large "Death to England" graffiti still scrawled on the site.

"Death to England" was still clearly legible in Farsi at several locations in the embassy building, including in the drawing room of the ambassador's residence, as well as right above a portrait of Queen Elizabeth, with Iran not bothering to cover the offensive vandalism.

The semi-official Fars News Agencreported that the graffiti shows "how much disgust Iranians feel for the British foreign policy," in a reference to the UN sanctions on Iran's nuclear program that Britain conformed to, at which point the 2011 storming of the embassy occurred and ties were sundered.

With the signing of the Iran nuclear deal last month Britain and several other European nations have rushed to renew ties with Iran, the leading state sponsor of terror.

But Fars reports that Iran did not bother to remove the graffiti for the reopening of the British embassy, despite the presence of Hammond.

"Officials said removing the graffiti without damaging the building's elegant Victorian walls required specialists who had not yet been brought in. But the graffiti which was written in Persian had not been covered up in anyway prior to Mr Hammond's visit," detailed the paper.

Iranian student groups protested the "illegal" reopening of the embassy, calling the move "counterrevolutionary."

Hammond, the first British foreign secretary to visit Iran since 2003, indicated mutual ambassadors will be appointed within months, although Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht Ravanchi said Saturday that "we are not considering to send Iran's ambassador to Britain."

"Over the coming months, we will work to ensure that the nuclear agreement is a success, including by making sure that it is fully implemented by all sides," Hammond said at the reopening.

That statement came a day after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani vowed to breach the deal's limitations on weapons and rocket trade, and as Iran promises to flout the deal further by holding ballistic missile tests.