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Iran further isolated after British embassy storming

The storming of Britain’s embassy in Tehran this week will likely deepen the isolation of Iran, which is already criticised for its nuclear programme, human rights record and alleged support for militants.

world Updated: Dec 03, 2011 00:44 IST

The storming of Britain’s embassy in Tehran this week will likely deepen the isolation of Iran, which is already criticised for its nuclear programme, human rights record and alleged support for militants.

Britain on Wednesday ordered Iran’s embassy in London closed after Basij militia members ran amok through its own mission in Tehran, prompting the evacuation of all its diplomats.

Several European nations, including France, Germany and Italy, recalled their ambassadors in a show of solidarity, and the European Union on Thursday declared it would take “appropriate measures” to hit back at what it saw as an attack on the EU as a whole.

The new crisis has erupted as Iran struggles with severe international sanctions already in place over its controversial nuclear programme, which has been condemned by the UN Security Council.

The US and the EU this week announced a hardening of their economic and financial measures against Iran.

Western nations have also exerted pressure over Iran’s human rights record with severe repression against dissidents and protesters.

Iranian support for opposition demonstrations led by its co-religionists among the Shiite majority in Bahrain has also reignited tensions between Tehran and its Sunni-ruled Gulf Arab neighbours — chief among them Saudi Arabia.

Iran’s isolation could also grow if the regime in Syria — Tehran’s main regional ally — is toppled by the persistent protests there. The loss of Syria would complicate Iran’s access to other allies — the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon, and Hamas in the Palestinian territories.

It would also diminish Iran’s influence in the region, several European and Arab diplomats predicted.