Iranians attack UK embassy

NY Times:
 Dozens of Iranian protesters screaming “death to England!” stormed the vast British embassy compound in central Tehran on Tuesday, tore down the British flag, smashed windows and ransacked the offices in what appeared to be an officially sanctioned protest of Britain’s particularly tough economic sanctions against Iran over its suspect nuclear energy program.
The embassy assault, reported by Iranian news services and broadcast on Iranian television, was the most serious breach between Britain and Iran in more than 20 years, and the images evoked memories of the siege of the American Embassy following the Iranian revolution of 1979. There were conflicting accounts of whether any hostages had been taken by the embassy assailants. There was no word on the whereabouts of the embassy staff.
Britain’s Foreign Office, apparently caught off guard by the assault, called it “utterly unacceptable” and said British officials had spoken to Iranian diplomats in London “to urge the Iranian authorities to act with utmost urgency to ensure the situation is brought under control and to protect our diplomatic compound, as they are obliged to do under international law.”
The Foreign Office also urged all British nationals in Iran “to stay indoors, keep a low profile and await further advice.”
The United States and European Union also rushed to condemn the embassy assault, and representatives at the United Nations Security Council were reported to be conferring about issuing a statement that would call upon Iran to protect foreign diplomats and embassy property.
Iranian news agencies said about 50 protesters invaded the offices of the enormous walled compound housing the British Embassy and its manicured grounds, situated in a busy neighborhood in the heart of Tehran, 200 to 300 others got into the embassy compound elsewhere while thousands of protesters rallied outside.
After a few hours, Iran’s Foreign Ministry expressed “regret” over the embassy assault and said the violence had been carried out by a small number of protesters in spite of preventive efforts by the police, Agence France-Presse reported from Tehran.
The chances that this assault was not sanctioned by the government are remote.  Iran is essentially a police state right now and its control over any public gathering of more than two or three people is pretty tight.  I suspect the regime is getting panicky over the tightening sanctions which the Brits have been calling for.


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