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France pulls out diplomatic staff from Tehran after British embassy attack
France is to temporarily downsize its embassy in Tehran as a precautionary measure following the storming of the British embassy earlier this week. Britain has already evacuated all staff from its Tehran embassy and ordered the closure of the Iranian embassy in London.
More than half of the some 30 personnel at the French embassy, consulate, economic and culture centres bearing diplomatic or service passports could be affected. Personnel at the French school in Tehran will also be involved a diplomatic source told the French news agency.
But no specific instructions to leave Iran have been given to the French community of around 800 people – mostly Iranian-French dual citizens.
The French move comes after German, Dutch and Italian ambassadors were recalled for consultations on the British embassy assault.
It also follows the decision by the European Union on Thursday to introduce extra sanctions on Iran and a warning that more could be on the way. The US Congress is also poised to pass a law hitting Iran’s central bank.
Iran had sharply criticised the closure of the British embassy and warned other EU countries not to follow suit.
“The British government is trying to involve other European countries in our bilateral issue. But we have told the Europeans not to trouble relations with Iran because of Britian,” said foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other senior government officials have not yet commented on the embassy attack.
Politial tensions are rising alongside speculation that Israel is mulling air strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities with or without US backing.