UK expels Iranian diplomats after embassy attack; French, German, Dutch envoys recalled

Laura Rozen
The Envoy


After Iranian protesters stormed the British embassy in Tehran Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague has announced the embassy's closure, with an order for all Iranian diplomats to leave the United Kingdom within 48 hours.

Germany, France and the Netherlands also recalled their envoys from Iran for consultations, the Associated Press reported Wednesday, while Norway said it was closing its Tehran embassy as a security precaution.

Hague, speaking to the British Parliament Wednesday, said that the UK has withdrawn its diplomatic staff and dependents from Iran, and had ordered Iran's London embassy closed, the BBC reported.

"We have now closed the British Embassy in Tehran. We have decided to evacuate all our staff and as of the last few minutes all our UK-based staff have now left Iran," Hague said, according to a statement sent to Yahoo News by the British embassy. "The Iranian Chargé 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."

"If any country makes it impossible for us to operate on their soil, they cannot expect to have a functioning Embassy here," he said.

Hague said that the actions do not amount to a complete severing of British relations with Iran, but a downgrading to the lowest level of diplomatic relations. There are reportedly some 70,000 Iranian nationals residing in the UK.

France, Germany and the Netherlands recalled their Tehran envoys for consultations Wednesday to strongly protest the attack Tuesday on two British embassy buildings in Tehran by a couple hundred Iranian protesters, while Austria and Italy said they were evaluating such a possible move.

"The French foreign ministry said it was moved to act 'in the face of this flagrant and unacceptable violation of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations and the gravity of the violence,'" the AP reported.

Norway also closed its embassy in Tehran Wednesday amid security concerns, but had not yet decided to evacuate its diplomatic staff, the Associated Press reported.

This piece was updated at 2PM EST with news of the recall of the French, German and Dutch ambassadors to Iran for consultations with their governments.

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