The British government has closed its embassy in Tehran and given Iranian diplomats two days to depart the UK. London has not severed diplomatic relations with Iran, but has reduced them to the lowest level possible without a break. Some other European countries have followed suit.
Apparently the angry students and other forces suspected the British embassy has having been behind incidents such as the killing of a nuclear scientist and the explosions at Iranian military facilities.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi admitted that Iran had a duty to protect embassies in the country, and told his Turkish counterpart that he hoped relations could get back to normal with the United Kingdom. The USG Open Source Center translates:
‘Iran’s Salehi Hopes Ties With UK To Continue ‘Normally'; Meets Davutoglu
“Davutoglu Met With Iranian Foreign Minister” — AA headline
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Document Type: OSC Translated Text
Jedda (AA) — Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met with his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Salehi, in Jedda where the OIC foreign ministers are holding a meeting on Syria.
Our correspondents have learned that the two ministers discussed a variety of issues, particularly Syria. Foreign Minister Davutoglu reiterated Turkey’s stand on Syria.
At the bilateral meeting where regional developmens were also taken up, Davutoglu expressed his displeasure with the statements recently made against Turkey by certain Iranian officials. The Iranian foreign minister said he does not share the views of these officials, and that the said views do not reflect Iran’s official stand.
The two ministers also discussed the raid on the British Embassy in Tehran. Davutoglu stressed that diplomats and diplomatic representations must be protected. Ali Akbar Salehi Speaks to AA
Salehi spoke to AA about the raid on the British Embassy. He said that this was an unfortunate incident and that Iran is responsible for the protection of foreign embassies. He pointed out that he spoke with the British foreign secretary for 90 minutes on 29 November. He added: “I hope that both we and Britain will consider this incident as if it did not happen, and that our relations will continue normally from now on.”
(Description of Source: Ankara Anatolia in Turkish — Semi-official news agency; independent in content)’
Speaker of the Iranian parliament Ali Larijani spoke on the radio on Wednesday, and unlike Salehi he blamed Britain for pursuing bad relations, according to a summary by the USG Open Source Center:
‘Iran: Parliament Speaker Says UK Behavior ‘Organized Hostility’
Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran Network 2
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 …
Document Type: OSC Summary…
Larijani was asked about the recent developments concerning ties with the United Kingdom and the position of Majles deputies over this issue. He said the problem was that Britain’s behavior towards Iran had not been justifiable in the past. He recounted Britain’s role in Iran’s history and said that after the revolution Britain had been behaving craftily trying to maintain diplomatic relations while at the same time carrying out hostile acts. Larijani described Britain’s behavior as “organized hostility.” He said: “We have no problem with the fact that they have certain objectives and would like to advance them. Every country has some objectives. But they cannot cunningly hide their hostility under the guise of political diplomacy.”
He said in the recent events, Britain’s anger over the issue was not justified. He said resorting to the UN was a desperate move and Iran had the right to lower its ties with a country if it deemed fit. He said Britain should observe political protocol.
Finally, Larijani briefly talked about Iran’s nuclear program. He said the West was trying to stop this process through behind the scene deals. He explained that the International Atomic Energy Agency’s written report on Iran’s nuclear program had clearly mentioned that all ambiguities over Iran’s nuclear activities had been resolved but this did not satisfy Western powers. He said “I think this is a political issue.” He said he was advised that “if you resolve the issue with America, your problem will be solved.” Larijani said in his view nuclear issue would be a giant leap forward for Iran and the West did not want to see Iran’s progress.
He said the West could not stop Iran’s progress but it could attempt to build confidence. He said “Iran is not after confrontation.”
Larijani said all proposed plans to date by the West really ask one thing, that Iran had to stop its nuclear activity. He added that no one could stop Iran’s nuclear activity now that the process was underway. Larijani said logical talks were acceptable but talks in which the results were known in advance, were unacceptable ‘
The “Independent Islamic Student Association” took credit for the embassy invasion. But the consensus seems to be that they were Basij militiamen (the Basij is several hundred thousand hardline pro-regime volunteers).
The hard liners have thus succeeded in their goal, of isolating Iran further from the rest of the world.
This campaign is a mistake. One of the disadvantages Iraq faced in 2002 was that it was so isolated. When the outside world does not know you intimately, then other forces can characterize you and depict you with no fear of contradiction.