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Iran Tries To Contain Diplomatic Rift With U.K., Europe


Some of those who stormed an office at the British Embassy in Tehran look through documents and other belongings on November 29.
Iran says its crisis with London over the storming of the British Embassy in Tehran should not be an issue for other European countries.

The semiofficial Fars news agency quoted Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast as accusing the British government of "trying to extend to other European countries the problem between the two of us."

"We have told European countries not to subject their ties" to the crisis, he added.

PHOTO GALLERY of the embassy incident in Tehran

Iranian diplomats were expelled from the U.K. and arrived home on December 3 to a crowd of some 150 people at Tehran's airport, despite the government reportedly opposing any high-profile welcome.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague on November 30 ordered the diplomats to leave Britain following the closure of Britain's embassy in Tehran, which was stormed and ransacked by protesters a day earlier.

French officials have told Western news agencies privately that Paris was temporarily downsizing its embassy in Iran and would bring some employees and their families home.

Germany and the Netherlands have already recalled their ambassadors, and Italy and Spain summoned Iranian envoys to condemn the attacks.

In Iran, a senior hard-line cleric on December 2 urged worshipers at Friday Prayers to make "Death to England" a regular feature of the anti-Western chants that frequently punctuate public gatherings.

The embassy storming -- which U.K. Foreign Secretary Hague suggested had official backing -- came just two days after Iran's parliament passed a law to downgrade diplomatic ties with Britain in response to new British sanctions that sever all U.K. ties with Iran's financial sector as a result of its suspected efforts to gain a nuclear weapons capacity.

compiled from Reuters and RFE/RL reports