Ali Larijani

The head of Iran’s Parliament says the attack on the British Embassy in Tehran is a manifestation of public anger against Britain’s anti-Iranian policies of recent decades.

Iranian media report that Ali Larijani acknowledged that such protests should be carried out through legal channels. However, he slammed the British for describing the attack as “a shameless act,” saying: “It is the oppressive behaviour of the British government toward Iran in the past five decades that is shameless.”

Yesterday, a group of Iranian demonstrators gathered in front of the British embassy in Tehran to protest British sanctions against Iran. The demonstrators then forced their way into the embassy and occupied it for several hours before being removed by the police.

The United Nations quickly issued a statement condemning the attack. Similar responses were issued by other Western countries.

Larijani accused the United Nations of having a double standard, noting that the Security Council made no such fuss when the Iranian embassy in London was attacked in April of 1980.

In that incident, the attackers claimed to be supporters of Khuzestan autonomy. British Special Forces intervened, killing five occupiers and arresting a sixth. 2 hostages inside the building were killed during the rescue mission and 26 were freed.

The British government has now pulled some of its staff out of Iran and announced that the embassy in Tehran will be closed and all diplomats will be removed by Friday.

The British foreign minister has announced, however, that this does not signify a complete severing of diplomatic relations.

Reports also indicate that Norway closed its embassy in Tehran today in reaction to the attack on the British embassy.