Iranian MPs expel diplomat amid chants of 'Death to Britain'

 

Iran's parliament has called for drastic cuts in diplomatic ties with the UK in the escalating row over Tehran's alleged attempt to acquire a nuclear arsenal.

MPs chanting "death to Britain" voted for the withdrawal of both country's ambassadors in retaliation for the UK government's decision to follow the US in toughening sanctions following a critical report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) into Iran's nuclear programme.

The motion, passed by 87 per cent of MPs, will need to be approved by the country's Guardian Council before it can come into effect. But the parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani, seen as an influential figure in governing circles, said yesterday: "We are observing the behaviour of this country [Britain], and it is the beginning of the road – further measures may be taken." Another senior MP, Zohreh Elahian, accused the UK of having an "agenda of sedition aimed at toppling the Islamic Republic".

The British ambassador to Tehran, Dominick Chilcott, was only appointed last week. A Foreign Office spokesman said: "If the Iranian government acts on this, we will respond robustly in consultation with our international partners. This unwarranted move will do nothing to help the regime address its growing isolation, or international concerns about its nuclear programme and human rights record."

This was the latest example of Iran's increasingly hard-line stance against what it considers to be hostile acts by London. Earlier in October, the mayor of Tehran ordered a lawsuit to be filed contesting the ownership of the land on which Britain's embassy has stood since the 19th century. The previous month a group of people with supposed links to BBC's Farsi-language service were detained. There have also been charges of UK collusion with the opposition during the disputed elections in 2009.

But the row over claims that Tehran is attempting to manufacture nuclear arms has led to an escalation in punitive action by both sides. Last Tuesday, the Chancellor, George Osborne, announced the cutting off all UK financial ties with Iranian banks which, he claimed, were funding the nuclear programme. The move is also expected to have an impact on Iran's oil and petrochemical industries, the country's main source of revenue.

It will also affect trade between the two countries. In the first six month of 2011, Iran sold 11,000 barrels of crude to Britain per day, some 0.5 percent of Iran's daily production. British Midland International airline carries some 80,000 passengers between Tehran and London per year on its daily flight. Some 100,000 Iranians live in the UK.

The US and Canada announced similar sanctions, and the European Union will this week consider a French call for a ban on Iranian oil exports. However, Russia and China, which have been critical of some aspects of the IAEA report, have effectively blocked the possibility of the UN Security Council toughening its measures against Tehran.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

The Green Recruitment Company: Operations Manager - Anaerobic Digestion / Biogas

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Operation...

Recruitment Genius: IT Projects Engineer

£18000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Account Director - OTE £60,000

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Inbound Sales Executive

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Inbound Sales Executive is required t...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent