Shots fired at UK embassy in Tehran hours after Iran recalled ambassador
Britain's embassy in the Iranian capital of Tehran has been shut down Wednesday after receiving direct hits from a number of shots fired from a nearby street.
According to an embassy spokesman, cited by the BBC, the five shots were fired on the embassy building just before midday (local time) Wednesday, breaking windows and entering the building.
Nobody was injured in the attack which comes hours after the announcement that Iran had recalled its ambassador to the UK.
The ambassador had been recalled to Tehran over the detention in Britain of Iran's former ambassador to Argentina, Hadi Soleimanpour, wanted in connection with a "terrorist attack" in Argentina, nearly a decade ago as well as western pressure on Tehran over its alleged nuclear weapons ambitions, according to the British Guardian.
In its Wednesday edition, the newspaper said Ambassador Morteza Sarmadi flew back to his country after failing to settle any compromise from British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw during a meeting held at the Foreign Office earlier this week.
A diplomat in London, cited by the paper, said that although Sarmadi has officially returned for consultations with his superiors, "he may not return."
Such a diplomatic row, according to the paper, could prompt Iran to expel the British envoy to Tehran, Richard Dalton.
Last week Sarmadi said "The arrest of former Iranian ambassador to Argentina, Hadi Soleimanpour, by British authorities is technically wrong and baseless."
Sarmadi told IRNA that based on international law under the 1961 Vienna Convention ambassadors and embassy staff are immune from prosecution.
Spokesman for Iranian Foreign Ministry Hamid-Reza Asefi Asefi confirmed the news about Sarmadi's return to Tehran. However, he dismissed as "baseless and unfounded" news claiming Iran has recalled 400 of its diplomats to the country.
The Qatar-based al-Jazeera news network claimed Tuesday that Iran, following the Argentina case, had recalled 400 of its diplomats back home. Asefi stressed that the news was utterly baseless and false. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)