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Iraqis in Iran storm their embassy

About 200 Iraqis stormed their embassy in the Iranian capital on Friday morning, smashing photographs of Saddam Hussein.

india Updated: Apr 11, 2003 13:42 IST

About 200 Iraqis stormed their embassy in the Iranian capital on Friday morning, smashing photographs of Saddam Hussein and shouting against both the missing Iraqi leader and the possibility the United States will control the government that replaces him.

Police said no Iraqi diplomats had been in the building in central Tehran since Thursday. About a dozen police were guarding the embassy on Friday, too few to hold back the angry crowd. "No Saddam! No US puppet regime! We want freedom!" the crowd chanted as it smashed windows, furniture and the Saddam portraits.

The scene was similar to television images from Baghdad in recent days showing Iraqis storming government and ruling party offices and destroying other symbols of Saddam and his regime. The only spared in Tehran were embassy documents, which people in the crowd were seen taking away.

At other Iraqi embassies, diplomats have been seen burning documents since it became clear Wednesday that Saddam had lost control of his capital. Iraqi diplomats have been accused of gathering intelligence on Iraqi citizens living abroad and even plotting attacks on Iraqi dissidents.

There are about 200,000 Iraqis living in Iran, many of them Shiite Muslims who fled after a failed Shiite uprising against Saddam in 1991. Tens of thousands of the Iraqis in Iran live in the capital.

Wednesday, about 60 members of an Iraqi opposition group took over the Iraqi interest section at the Jordanian Embassy in London. Scotland Yard said those demonstrators were quickly cleared from the building, and police arrested two dozen people for offences including criminal damage.

First Published: Apr 11, 2003 13:42 IST