Protesters angry at the sanctions enforced on Iran because of its nuclear programme stormed the British Embassy in Tehran on Tuesday.
The protest involved hundreds of Iranian students, according to the Iran embassy. They stormed the British embassy compound in Tehran and the British flag was pulled down. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague says that “extensive damage” was caused to the building.
Iran´s Foreign Ministry has since issued a statement apologising for “the unacceptable actions of a few protesters despite the efforts of Iranian security forces to stop them”.
The situation is now said to be under control and efforts continue to remove the remaining protesters from the compound. Police are now protecting the building and any documents inside. Police were also called to help control the situation after protesters gathered outside of another embassy in northern Tehran. Foreign nationals are said to be receiving protection from security forces.
Despite the situation seeming to be under control, the Foreign Office has issued a statement advising Britons against all but essential travel to Iran.
In a statement, William Hague said:
“The United Kingdom takes this irresponsible action extremely seriously.”
“It amounts to a grave breach of the Vienna Convention which requires the protection of diplomats and diplomatic premises under all circumstances.”
“We hold the Iranian Government responsible for its failure to take adequate measures to protect our Embassy, as it is required to do.”
The Foreign Secretary went on to say that he had spoken to Iranian Foreign Minister who apologised for the events and the Iranian Charge d’Affaires in London has been called to the Foreign Office; the events in Iran will also be raised in Parliament.
Regarding the safety of embassy staff, the Foreign Secretary said:
“The safety of our staff is our utmost priority. On our latest information it now appears that all our staff and their dependants are accounted for. We are urgently establishing the whereabouts of our locally engaged security staff to ensure their well-being. All other locally engaged staff had been instructed not to attend the Embassy today because of the likelihood of demonstrations.”
“We warn British nationals against all but essential travel to Iran, and we advise the small number that are in Iran to stay indoors and to await further advice.”
Prime Minister David Cameron has condemned the attack and President Obama has also expressed his concern over the protest in Iran.