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Top Cleric Says British Embassy Attack In Tehran Was 'Illegal'

Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami
A top Iranian cleric has sharply criticized the storming of the British Embassy in Tehran by hundreds of pro-regime protesters, calling the attack "illegal."

The ISNA news agency quotes Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami as "explicitly" saying, "I am against attacking embassies and occupying them. Attacking an embassy and occupying it is like invading a country and is illegal."

Khatami, who is close to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also stated, however, that the storming of the British Embassy last week must not be compared to the taking of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979, an event that resulted in the complete severance of U.S.-Iranian diplomatic ties.

Khatami comments are the strongest reaction yet in Iran against the coordinated incursions of Britain's embassy and a second diplomatic compound in Tehran on November 29.

Britain has accused the Iranian regime of being linked to the attacks. In response, it has withdrawn its diplomatic staff from Iran and expelled all Iranian diplomats from the United Kingdom.

compiled from agency reports