Iran releases UK Embassy rioters

Iran Materials 1 December 2011 14:54 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec.1 / Trend D.Khatinoglu/

Iran has released 11 people who attacked the British Embassy in Tehran after two days of violence, Fars News Agency reported on Thursday. Iran claims these people are students.

On Tuesday, a 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.

The group 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 from the front of the main embassy compound, but later clashed with protesters and fired tear gas to try to disperse them. Protesters nevertheless entered the compound a second time, before once again leaving.

The U.N. Security Council, Russia, China, the U.S. and some other countries condemned the attacks 'in the strongest terms'. U.S. President Barack Obama called on Iran to hold those responsible to account. The British government was not available to comment on the reported withdrawal of embassy staff from Iran.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon issued a statement on 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 the West, which last week saw imposed fresh sanctions over Tehran's nuclear programme which is believed to be 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.