British embassy staff evacuated from Tehran to Dubai
Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 30 / Trend S.Isayev/
The UK is evacuating its diplomatic staff from Iran following the storming of its embassy by Iranian protesters the day before, AFP reported.
The first group of embassy employees is at the Tehran airport fly to Dubai, one European diplomat said. He added the British diplomats had spent the night in the security of various E.U. embassies, notably the French mission.
The evacuation was decided a day after protesters stormed and ransacked its embassy and a residential compound. On Nov. 29, group of protesters broke away from a crowd of a few hundred outside the main British embassy compound in Tehran, scaled the gates, broke the locks and went inside. Protesters pulled down the British flag, burned it and put up the Iranian flag instead. Some took a framed picture of Queen Elizabeth.
Police appeared to have cleared the demonstrators in front of the main embassy compound, but later clashed with protesters and fired tear gas to try to disperse them, Fars said. Protesters nevertheless entered the compound a second time, before once again leaving.
The U.N. Security Council condemned the attacks "in the strongest terms." U.S. President Barack Obama called on Iran to hold those responsible to account. British government was not available on the reported withdrawal of embassy staff from Iran.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon issued a statement Wednesday during a trip to South Korea saying he was "shocked and outraged to hear of the incident in Tehran in which demonstrators entered the British embassy, briefly abducted embassy staff and damaged property."
Even Russia, which is Iran's closest major ally, condemned the incursions as "unacceptable"
The U.N. Security Council condemned the storming of two British diplomatic compounds in Tehran and urged Iranian authorities to protect diplomats. The attacks occurred at a time of rising diplomatic tension between Iran and Western nations, which last week imposed fresh sanctions over Tehran's nuclear program that they believe is aimed at achieving the capability of making an atomic bomb. Iran, the world's fifth biggest oil exporter, says it wants nuclear plants only for the generation of electricity.