Some 100 Iranians protested Tuesday in front of the Italian embassy in Tehran, shouting "Death to Italy, Death to Berlusconi." Protests were also held outside the French and Dutch embassies, the AP reported.
The protests came a week after Premier Silvio Berlusconi announced in Israel that his country was scaling down its economic ties with Iran. Television footage of the protests showed protesters throwing stones and eggs at the Italian embassy. Foreign Ministry officials said none of the protesters managed to get inside and that police intervened.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told the Senate that the protest was "hostile" and that the Iranians tried to assault the building. The Italian news agency ANSA, citing unidentified sources, reported Tuesday that the Iranian Foreign Ministry had summoned the Italian ambassador to protest Berlusconi's remarks in Israel.
Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency reported that a group of university students had gathered in the afternoon at the gates of the French and Italian embassies, which are next to each other in downtown Tehran. The students hurled eggs and tomatoes at both buildings and denounced what they said was Italian and French support for Iran's opposition movement, the report said.
The protesters demanded Iran scale back its relations with both countries.