'Regret' as UK ambassador expelled from Iran

 

Downing Street expressed "regret" today at Iran's decision to expel the UK's ambassador from Tehran in a further worsening of relations between the two countries.

Iran's constitutional watchdog, the Guardian Council, today ratified a parliamentary bill to cut back diplomatic relations with the UK in retaliation for its support for recently upgraded sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear programme.

Foreign Secretary William Hague will update MPs on the spat in the House of Commons this afternoon and will discuss the issue when he meets fellow European Union foreign ministers on Thursday.

EU heads of mission in Tehran are due to meet today to discuss the development.

The bill - passed by an overwhelming majority yesterday - requires both Iran and Britain to withdraw their ambassadors from the other country and reduce representation to the level of charge d'affaires.

It also calls for trade between the two countries to be reduced to "minimum levels".

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has five days to sign the bill before Iran's foreign ministry can act on it.

Ambassador Dominick Chilcott only took up his position at the Tehran Embassy on October 26 and could be returning home after little more than a month in post.

Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman told reporters at a daily media briefing today: "Clearly we regret their decision to expel our ambassador.

"That decision will do nothing to help the Iranian regime address its growing isolation from the international community.

"We will think about precisely how we should respond, but there will be a meeting of EU heads of mission in Tehran today and there will be further discussion on Thursday at the EU Foreign Affairs Council."

The Foreign Office described yesterday's overwhelming vote in the Tehran Parliament as "unwarranted" and "regrettable", adding: "If the Iranian Government acts on this, we will respond robustly in consultation with our international partners."

The latest sanctions by Britain and other countries, including the United States, followed a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency which expressed "serious concerns" regarding "possible military dimensions" to Iran's nuclear programme.

PA

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

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
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests