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Iranian protesters seize 6 British embassy staff

November 29, 2011

This is becoming ever more reminiscent of the Carter presidency, yet I have a feeling things will get much worse this time around.


(Reuters) – Iranian protesters briefly took six British embassy staff hostage on Tuesday when they stormed two diplomatic compounds in Tehran, smashing windows, hurling petrol bombs and burning the British flag in a protest against sanctions imposed by Britain.

Britain said it was outraged by the attacks on its embassy compounds, but had no immediate comment on the seizure of its staff who, Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency said, were freed by police from a leafy residential complex in north Tehran.

Several dozen protesters broke away from a crowd of a few hundred outside the main embassy compound in downtown Tehran, scaled the gates, broke the locks and went inside.

Protesters pulled down the British flag, burned it, and put up the Iranian flag, Iranian news agencies and news pictures showed. Inside, the demonstrators threw stones and petrol bombs. One waved a framed picture of Queen Elizabeth, state TV showed.

Others carried the royal crest out through the embassy gate as police stood by, pictures carried by the Fars news agency showed. Demonstrators waved flags symbolizing martyrdom and held portraits of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.


There have been regular protests outside the British embassy over the years since the 1979 Islamic revolution that toppled the U.S.-backed shah, but never have any been so violent.

The attacks and hostage-taking was reminiscent of the 1979 takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran carried out by radical students who held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. The United States and Iran have cut diplomatic ties ever since.

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