Monday, 13 December 2010

Iranian officials call for UK ambassador to be expelled

Iranian officials have called for Britain's Ambassador to Tehran to be expelled from the Islamic Republic after his comments about the country's human rights record. Ambassador Smion Gass made a point of saying he was concerned about the risks posed to journalists, lawyers and activists working in Iran.

Iranian lawmakers have also expressed outrage about Gass' comments, and subsequently said that the political ties between Iran and the UK should be downgraded. They said Gass' comments had breached diplomatic protocol.

"Gass is a clear example of a persona non grata that must be expelled from Iran," said Hossein Sobhaninia.

Iran's anger at Gass was propelled by a statement on his personal web site, released on International Human Rights Day, stating the threats to civil society activists around the world. Part of the statements said, "Nowhere are they under greater threat than in Iran." The ambassador highlighted his point by citing the case of human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who was arrested in September and is accused of acting against national security.

One Iranian politician said the British Ambassador needed to learn "ambassadorial ethics". Meanwhile, dozens of Iranian government supporters held a demonstration outside the British Embassy to protest against the killing of Iranian nuclear scientists. Iran has accused Britain, the US and Israel for the attacks.

Source: BBC News

For more news and expert analysis about Iran, please see Iran Strategic Focus.

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