UK Expels Iranian Diplomats In 'Tit For Tat'
Two Iranian diplomats have been expelled by the British government, after two UK envoys were told to leave Iran. The Iranians yesterday ordered the expulsion of the two officials for "activities inconsistent with their diplomatic status" - diplomatic language for spying.
But Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Iran's actions were "unjustified" and "absolutely without foundation".
Mr Brown told MPs in the Commons: "In response to that action, we informed the Iranian ambassador today that we would expel two Iranian diplomats from their embassy in London. "I am disappointed that Iran has placed us in this position."
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Britain and the US on Sunday to stop interfering in Iran's internal affairs after the disputed presidential election, which led to days of protests.
Sky's foreign affairs editor Tim Marshall said Iran's decision to expel the diplomats relates to an "internal issue", aimed at the anti-government protesters in Tehran. "It serves as a warning that if arrested, they will be accused of collaborating with foreign powers against Iran," Marshall said.
Conservative leader David Cameron said the expulsion of the British envoys was "clearly not acceptable" and backed the retaliatory measure.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office described the claim as "baseless".
A spokeswoman said: "We think the Government of Iran is seeking to blame the UK and other outsiders for what is an Iranian reaction to an Iranian issue. "This has a potential impact on our staff safety and is unacceptable. We have taken the decision to reciprocate."
Posted by: Fred 2009-06-24