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UN should act against Cameron over response to disturbances, says Iran

The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took gleeful advantage of the riots that have convulsed Britain, decrying the UN and human rights groups for their "silence" on the police response and demanding that the Security Council take action against David Cameron's government.

"If one per cent of this happens in countries that oppose the West, [the UN and human rights bodies] scream until they are hoarse," Mr Ahmadinejad said. His remarks came a day after the Iranian government-funded Press TV published a statement from a foreign ministry spokesman urging the British police to stop "the violent confrontation with the people".

Mr Ahmadinejad's comments were perhaps the most striking of another day on which the world's gaze was fixed on events in Britain. Apparently motivated by Britain's support for pro-democracy demonstrators after government forces violently suppressed protests in Iran in 2009, his sentiments may strike international observers as ironic. According to members of the Iranian opposition movement, scores of protesters were killed by militiamen allied to the regime in Tehran.

The Iranian President nonetheless insisted yesterday that Mr Cameron was a hypocrite who had abandoned his people. "They should change their attitude, change their management, and deal with their own people instead of intervening in others' affairs," he said.

Others were more circumspect in their remarks, with the Dalai Lama, during a speech in Delhi, saying that he had believed that Britain was a law-abiding, peaceful nation and that recent events made him feel "really sad". The South African government, meanwhile, warned its citizens to postpone any planned trips to London.

The global media was likewise fascinated by events here, seeing them as a telling index on the British political climate. "Even when the fires are quelled and the streets are cleaned, the deeper problems will remain," the left-leaning Berliner Zeitung said in an editorial. "But everything will probably remain the same. The Brits will fall into their standard stoic mentality. 'Keep calm and carry on' – until the next riot."