Britain is expelling Iran's diplomatic representation from London and has shut its embassy in Tehran on Wednesday, following the invasion and looting of the embassy by Iranian protesters. The measures are the latest break in relations between the United Kingdom and Iran, and could be the beginning of additional isolation of Iran by other Western countries.
"We wish to make absolutely clear to Iran and to any other nation that such action against our embassies is a flagrant breach of international responsibilities and is totally unacceptable to the United Kingdom," British foreign secretary William Hague told Parliament. However, he also claimed the move does not amount to the severing of relations entirely, and Britain will still conduct negotiations with Iran about nuclear issues and human rights through international channels.
Other European nations are advocating further Iranian sanctions and diplomatic punishments. "France is advocating sanctions on a scale that would paralyze the regime: freezing of central bank assets and an embargo on hydrocarbon (oil) exports," said the French foreign minister Alan Juppe. France, Germany, and the Netherlands have recalled their ambassadors, and Italy has threatened similar measures.
Iran has countered the moves with propaganda of its own. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani attacked Britain and defended the looting of their embassy, saying that the move reflected popular hatred of the United Kingdom. Even before the attack, Iran had approved a downgrading of relations with Britain over ongoing conflict about its nuclear program.