Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Iranians vent their rage at Britain (UPDATED)

1st UPDATE: 1:25 p.m. EST: I came across some video of the initial protests at the British embassy, which angry Iranians "stormed" (according to some Western media accounts) earlier today.

Reuters reports that Iranian media are suggesting the protests have reached a peaceful conclusion.
"After security forces gave an ultimatum to students, the protest ended at the main British compound (in central Tehran)," the semi-official Fars news agency reported. The students' news agency ISNA said protesters had also left a second British embassy compound in north of the capital.
A separate Reuters story notes that 6 Britons were briefly taken hostage during the day.

In this story from the New York Times, you can find embedded links to multiple video or still shots from today's events. 

ORIGINAL POST: The various media reports suggest a tense situation exists today in Tehran, where protesters have stormed the British embassy. The Financial Times explores what is behind the rage.
There were no reports of any aggression against diplomats, the embassy’s main administrative building or the ambassador’s residence which are all in the same compound.
Some unconfirmed reports suggested the diplomats evacuated the embassy.
This was one of the most aggressive attacks ever against the British embassy, which is considered by hardliners as the leading hostile foreign mission in Tehran, since Iranian students attacked the US embassy – the main “den of espionage” - in 1980 and took diplomats hostage for more than a year.
A British foreign office spokesperson said the UK was “outraged” by the attack. “It is utterly unacceptable and we condemn it,” the spokesperson said.
The New York Times adds the attacks are another sign that Iran's relations with the West are collapsing.
One Iranian news agency said six embassy workers had been taken hostage , but withdrew the report from its Web site minutes later with no explanation, Reuters reported. The semi-official Mehr news agency initially said: “Students from universities in Tehran took hostage six people working for the British embassy in Qolhak garden,” referring to the compound that protesters stormed earlier on Tuesday.
The episode came a day after Iran enacted legislation to downgrade relations with Britain in retaliation for intensified sanctions imposed by Western nations last week to punish the Iranians for their suspected nuclear development program. Britain promised to respond “robustly.”
It might be a coincidence, but the Globe and Mail reports today that a series of unexplained accidents have befallen sites where Iran is believed to be working at building a nuclear bomb.
Whatever the cause, strange things keep happening around Iran’s supposedly peaceful, civilian, nuclear-research program. Top nuclear scientists get mysteriously assassinated. Arrays of finely tuned centrifuges enriching uranium go berserk, and major complexes mixing rocket fuel suffer massive industrial explosions.
Washington’s official position is that it wants yet another round of tougher sanctions to force Iran to come clean about its murky nuclear program. Beyond that, there is mostly silence and certainly no official confirmation that America is involved in covert operations aimed against Iran’s military-industrial complex.

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