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Politics & press news – Embassy 35

Escalation fears as UK closes embassy

Britain has downgraded its diplomatic ties with Iran to the lowest level, ordering the closure of the Embassy and the expulsion of its diplomats in London following the attack on the British Embassy in Tehran.

More than 80 Iranian diplomats and their families, who left “with dignity” within 48 hours, according to FCO sources, arrived in Tehran to a heroes’ welcome.

Meanwhile shaken British diplomats, including the British Ambassador Dominick Chilcott, arrived in the UK having endured a terrifying ordeal as rioters rampaged through the embassy, destroying furniture and personal belongings, setting fire to the main building and briefly holding some staff members hostage.

The attack was believed to have been carried out with the tacit approval of some elements fo the Iranian regime in retaliation to the UK’s tough stance on Iran’s nuclear programme.

But the move has left foreign diplomats in London worrying about a dangerous escalation of tensions between Iran and the West after many EU missions recalled their ambassadors. .

l The storming of the British Embassy does have one happy ending, however. In the chaos of the attack, Ambassador Chilcott revealed that he had had to leave his dog, Pumpkin, in the compound. The dog was later rescued by a foreign diplomat and a “custody battle” ensued among diplomatic missions as to who would take charge of the terrier. But Mr Chilcott is now happy to report that he and his wife Jane have been reunited with their intrepid pooch.

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