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Iranian Parliament Votes To Downgrade Ties With Britain

Iran's parliament has approved a draft bill calling for a reduction in diplomatic and economic relations with Britain in retaliation for Britain's decision to increase sanctions against Tehran.
Reportedly 179 of the 290 deputies in parliament voted in favor of the bill with four voting against and 11 abstaining.
The bill also gives the government two weeks to expel Britain's ambassador to Iran, appointed only in October, and leave the British Embassy to be run by the charge d'affaires.
The bill was introduced on November 23 after Britain, the U.S., and Canada imposed new sanctions on Iran earlier in the month, following comments from the UN nuclear watchdog -- the International Atomic Energy Agency -- that suggested Iran was developing nuclear weapons.
The British Foreign Office released a statement calling the Iranian parliamentary vote "regrettable" and vowing "if the Iranian government acts on this, we will respond robustly in consultation with our international partners."
Tehran has insisted its nuclear program is purely for civilian power use.
Iran's Guardians Council needs to approve the bill before it takes effect.

compiled from agency reports