Britain Closes Tehran Embassy

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
Anatolia
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.

28 Responses

  1. What exactly is Larijani saying about Iran’s nuclear program? He says that the IAEA has resolved ambiguities, but the most recent statements out of the IAEA seem to suggest they are pursuing a weapon (or at least I think that has been the USG’s spin on it). His subsequent comments that the nuclear program would be a great leap forward also sound like confirmation of a weapons program (a US claim of which I have long been quite skeptical). So, what do you think he’s telling us here?

  2. Unfortunately, the goal of the Obama administration is to use increased isolation as a bargaining tool to force concessions by Iran.

    The campaign of assassinating Iranian scientists, sabotaging nuclear plants, and economic sanctions so severe they put at risk the lives of ordinary Iranians who need to fly is a path leading to direct confrontation.

  3. Dear Professor Cole

    Quite Right.

    Mark Malloch-Brown the former UK Minister and UN Depty Sec General agrees but cautions against UK returning to the Blairite US-Poodle role.

    link to guardian.co.uk

    I remember Nick Burns, the former Deputy Under Secretary of State telling us that he had been the US main man on Iran for many years but had never visted the country. He envied the UKs contacts within and insight into Iran.

    It will be interesting to see if the Basji found objective evidence of UK involvement in the Baluchistan insurgency or the assasination program against Iranian Scientists.

    So lets wait and see.

  4. It is being reported on German Yahoo that it was reported on some German Newspaper that IF the USK attacks Iran Iran will
    TRY to launch attacks against US military facilities here in Germany.
    Yet the Headline to the article reads, Iran planning attacks in Germany. That is certianly not a misleading headline now is it?
    How do these bozoos get thier jobs?

  5. I think it would help if we knew exactly (or even approximately) what secret violence we are committing in Iran. Its safe to say that any such operations would be labeled terrorism if they occurred in the US, and severe retaliatory action would vigorously applauded.

    Of course we may be Boy Scout innocent and virtuous. That would sanctify our criticisms and threats to Iran. On the other hand if Obama has let the special forces and the CIA have their way with Iran, we really have no standing to criticize that country for acting bad and spreading harm.

    For some reason I can’t explain, my conspiracy theory infected mind suspects that the special forces and CIA are very busy doing physical harm to Iran. If so, the Terrorists ‘R Us.

  6. And, of course, Michele Bachmann is threatening that if she becomes President she might close the US embassy in Iran. (!)

  7. The New York Times claims to have received assurances from Egypt’s military dictatorship that Egypt’s voters will not influence areas of foreign policy of concern to Westerners.

    link to nytimes.com

    The new majority is likely to increase the difficulty of sustaining the United States’ close military and political partnership with post-Mubarak Egypt, though the military has said it plans to maintain a monopoly over many aspects of foreign affairs.

    Can anyone doubt that if Egypt’s foreign affairs were not held under the control of a pro-US military, that a democratic Egypt that sets its own foreign policy would be treated no differently by the US than Iran is today?

    Fundamentally the hostility would not be Egypt’s fault, and it is not currently Iran’s fault. What we’re seeing in Iran is part of the Western effort to ensure that fewer than six million Jewish people have an enforced political majority state insulated from the opposition of more than 400 million non-Jewish people in its region.

    If hostility, tension and violence increase over the last half of Obama’s term in office, it is important to remember the ultimate cause of it.

    • “Can anyone doubt that if Egypt’s foreign affairs were not held under the control of a pro-US military, that a democratic Egypt that sets its own foreign policy would be treated no differently by the US than Iran is today?”

      Pretty much anyone with any depth of knowledge at all about the region and American policy there can doubt that. There are all sorts of countries in the region that are “not held under the control of a pro-US military,” but which aren’t subject to economic sanctions like Iran. Algeria comes to mind. Tunisia. Oman. Lebanon.

      There is quite a bit of room between the two poles you suggest.

  8. “To the Brits & Europeans: F*ck You”
    For over 30 years, I could see thugs from the regime in Iran walking down high street kensington. Buy property, opening bank accounts, trading with the Brits. And for 30 years NOTHING, I mean nothing was done to undermine the regime in Tehran. The Brits after all were not going to bring down what they had put up!! Britain maintained full diplomatic relations with Iran. So did every European country. When American “administrations” pushed for aggressive, decisive actions against Iran – it was the Europeans (notably the Brits) that watered down every proposal and pushed for sanctions only. And they made sanctions a joke. The Brits made sanction busting a source of serious revenue. Go to Britain’s colonial outpost in the Persian Gulf (Dubai) and you’ll see how British banks and corporations have made a huge multi-billion dollar business transhipping sanctioned goods to Iran. They built a cat-cracker in Iran (so Iran could produce its own gasoline) then announce sanctions on gasoline exports to Iran. They put some banking restrictions on transfers to Iran, then offered their banks in Dubai, as third party entities to effect those transactions. You Brits and Europeans have made sanctions a joke. You f*cking hypocrites.

    For over 30 years, you maintained direct high level diplomatic relations with Iran – while in effect shutting out the Americans. You sold power plants, chemical plants, cars, spare parts, …you name it to Iran. You kept the Islamic regime alive. Yet, the leadership in Iran has basically remained the same. Rafsanjani and Khamenei have been in power for over 30 years at the very highest level in the regime in Iran. Now suddenly you see the light and are announcing serious sanctions against Iran? You f*cking hypocrites.

    It was over 30 years ago that you sold a nuclear power plant to Iran. You built it. You even asked Iran to invest a billion dollars into Eurodif – Europes Uraniam enrichment plant. Iran even has a directorship in the company. Yet, somehow, now its not kosher for Iran to be enriching Uranium? You f*cking hypocrites.

    For over 100 years, you systematically undermined Iranian democracy. From the Reza Shah coup in 1920 to Operation Ajax and the Mohamad Reza Shah Coup in 1952, to the Mullah’s Coup in 1979 …you have turned on the people of Iran and their legitimate right for freedom and free speech, democracy. You have put up puppet dictatorships in Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan where you are stealing oil – Iranian oil! Throw sex parties for (President for life) Aliev in Azerbaijan. And you have the audacity to talk about democracy and pretend to promote democracy and human rights worldwide. You F*cking hypocrites.

    You pushed Saddam hussein to invade Iran. Sell arms to both sides. Extend the Iran-Iraq war for 8 years. Make record profits in the process. Then you persuade the U.S. (with false intelligence) to invade Iraq. After leveraging trillions from the U.S. Treasury, and over 4000 American deaths and something like 120,000 Iraqi civilian deaths…you take over Iraq two largest oil fields – Majnoon and Ramalla! And now control the world’s second largest oil reserves. And now the Iraqi government wants American soldiers to leave Iraq – while you are maintaining a military presence!!! …much more

    link to iranian.com

    Ofcom reverses decision to revoke licence of Iran’s Press TV
    Foreign Office denies government intervened in decision to switch penalty to £100,000 fine as tensions rose with republic

    link to guardian.co.uk

    If they are expelling Iranian diplomats, why aren’t they expelling PressTV?

    • The Iranian Islamists were well aware from the beginning that their existence was supported by the Brits & Europeans & Yankees. Their audacity and rudeness was not because of their faith in Allah, but their their faith in Brits that indeed wanted them to continue.

    • As a Brit I read your rant with a certain “well he / she does have a point, until I came to;

      “Then you persuade the U.S. (with false intelligence) to invade Iraq.”

      Come now old chap, that is a piece of absolute fantasy. Yes the Brits are guilty of double dealing, hypocrisy, pontificating in public and screwing everyone in private, but they all are, and if you think your own country, wherever that is, are not, then I suggest you read Wikileaks where I have no doubt that examples can be found.

      The war against Iraq was engineered by Zionists within the US administration and those same forces are working again to strike against Iran.

  9. “Maryam Namazie: One Law for All
    Celebrate 3rd year

    10 December 2011 will be One Law for All’s third anniversary. We were established in 2008 to oppose Sharia and religious law courts and demand one secular law for all. In the comings weeks, we will be debating the Left’s support of Islamism, and whether Sharia law negates human rights. On 13 December, we will also be briefing Peers in the House of Lords on the adverse effects of Sharia law in support of the Cox Equality Bill. To donate to the crucial work of One Law for All, please either send a cheque made payable to One Law for All to BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX, UK or pay via Paypal. — Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson, One Law for All

    Part 1 (WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW)

    link to iranian.com

  10. 1988 Massacre: A Quest for justice
    Symposium at Oxford University

    Symposium on the 1988 Massacre of Political prisoners in Iran: A Quest for justice. This symosium was held at Oxford University on October 25th, 2011, and was co-sponsored by the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation.

    Part 1:

    link to iranian.com

  11. Well then, Michelle will have to open an embassy there. She would be the first president in history to open and close an embassy in the same nation simultaneously cheers, rmdw

  12. And the grim and greedy old men, and too many of the young ones also, smirk and rub their bloody hands together, hding behind their myths, gleeful at the prospect of another pleasurable and profitable and personally consequence-free Red Zone in the Networked Battlespace.

    What a stupid species. We deserve to join the passenger pigeon and various large predators and the dodo and the others that our kind have so busily extinguished.

    How’s the hymn go, the one that is never sung in Prosperity and Apocalyptic Churches?

    In Christ there is no East or West,
    In Him no South or North;
    But one great fellowship of love
    Throughout the whole wide earth.

    God And No Quarter!

  13. the Brits ask for this: they have pandered to the regime for so long, allowing the invasion and hate-rally known as annual Al Qods march in London and allowing IRGC to intimidate and attack Iranian expats here! When they suddenly change tack they only have themselves to blame!

    • Vashti:

      How do you feel about Hamas, Hezbollah and ensuring that Israel’s regional monopoly on nuclear weapons extends to legal nuclear capabilities, so that Iran could not even have the capabilities that Japan, Brazil, Germany and many others have?

      What proportion of Iranians support the government on these three issues? Polls in the West show that all of them have 2 to 1 support.

      If the polls are right and most Iranians agree with those policies, do you think the United States or UK would be any less hostile against Iran if you were the ruler, if you pursued these seemingly popular policies that the IRI pursues?

      The West would be against you just as much as it is against Ahmadinejad if you pursued policies in line with the world views of most Iranians.

      The West is the wrong place for you to look for help unless you want to be ruled by the Shah or to be “partly free” so that your vote matters only on issues that the US does not consider important.

  14. I’m becoming increasingly worried that we have started down a path that will inevitably lead to war between the U.S. and Iran. The saber rattling of the Republican presidential candidates is disconcerting, but Obama has shown that he is not averse to military action if he deems it necessary. The problem is that unlike the successful Libyan intervention, Iran would be a can of worms that would take a lot more than air attacks to fully subdue. And going into Iran on foot would be a nightmare, given the country’s geographic size and population (nearly 80 million).

  15. “Iranians will never forgive the British. The lowest point of Iranian respect for the British was when they carefully planned and executed the assassination of Mirza Taqi Khan-e Amir Kabir (1806-1852) The greatest Prime Minister Iran ever had and the most important man in the last 300 years of Iran’s history. Amir Kabir could have been compared with Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Charles de Gaulle.

    What he did for Iran has never been appreciated enough, hence it is tragic that incompetent Iranian politicians of the last two centuries failed to finance a biography on him in foreign languages simply because they were all stooges and kissing servants of the British crown, installed Iran to plunder the wealth of a nation.

    Iranian hatred for anything British goes deep and it is now part of the Iranian gene, in particular among the educated and respected Iranians. The British will never stop conspiring against Iranians because historically British doctrine in Iran has been to keep Iran from any progress, bribe the elites and recruit spies, thugs, pedophiles and assassins for their never ending attempt to ruin Iranian culture and squash any desire to rise above the ignorance.

    By planning the murder of Amir Kabir that has falsely been credited to Amir Kabir’s mother-in-law, the British pushed back Iran substantially resenting among many things the fact that Amir Kabir was fluent in Russian and was well liked by the Tzar of Russia. Same allegations were fabricated for Dr. Mossadegh and his destruction (1951) because of the British fear of his empathy with the Russians and removal of the second greatest man in the modern Iranian history by feeding the Iranian ignorance.

    Iranians resentment of British attitude in Iran goes back 300 years and it will take a lot of apologies to ever forgive the monster colonialist that brings in governments and disposes them when their usage date gets expired. They use their own thugs to climb the wall of the embassy and then blame it on Iranians and put the stooge Islamic regime in defensive mode. It does not matter anymore who the thugs that attacked the embassy were, but in the heart of any brave Iranians there is a shred of hope that someday that den of conspiracies and espionage called British Embassy gets shut down and the compound be turned into a city park or public facilities, anything good for the environment other than British.

    But until then it is wise for any future Iranian regime that is not installed by the British to continue downgrading the diplomatic relation not to a charge-d’affiars or counsular level, but preferably to a gardener level. The highest level of a British diplomat in Iran should be a gardener taking care of the grounds and for that matter the same in London. Any Iranian diplomat ever worked at the Iranian embassy in London was a tyrant working there to sell his motherland to foreigners in exchange for sex, money and gifts and facelifts. Iran does not need an embassy in London and it aspires to turn it into a bed and breakfast compound for the tourists in London and beg them to leave Iranians alone….

    link to iranian.com

  16. The “students” obviously won’t understand this but self-defeating fanaticism only makes matters worse. It’s still unclear who was behind the embassy invasion but if it’s the by-product of internal factional skirmishing, that doesn’t fill me with much confidence in the stability of what passes for Iran’s higher echelons of government.

    Let’s take a deep breath and hope that Ahmadenijad & Khameni aren’t planning to try and “out-extreme” each other. If they do, then say an extra prayer for the rest of us.

  17. Professor Cole,

    I am not generally given to conspiracy theories, but my immediate thought when hearing of this story was the possibility that the embassy attacks were perpetrated by some group under the influence of US/Israeli hawks hoping to isolate the Iranian regime and antagonize others towards it and thus build support for further aggression.

    Do you share any similar suspicions or consider this even a remote possibility? I just don’t see how this action would be in the interest of hardliners, they would surely see the pending results.

    Thank you for your continued efforts. Your insight is invaluable.

  18. Britain “needed to be slapped”
    Friday prayer leader says sanctions will do no harm

    Press TV: A senior Iranian cleric has dismissed the UK-backed sanctions imposed on Iran as a mere propaganda campaign and praised Tehran’s having downgraded its diplomatic relations with London. Addressing a gathering of military forces on Wednesday, Ayatollah Seyyed Ahmad Khatami noted that the British government had always been involved in hatching plots against Iran, ISNA reported. Khatami said the sanctions brought into force against Iran by the US and the Western countries had not only been ineffective, but had also had propelled the country towards further progress >>>

    link to presstv.ir

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