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Iran to respond to Britain proportional to London's conduct: official

(Xinhua)

13:37, December 06, 2011

TEHRAN, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- An Iranian foreign affairs official said Monday that Tehran would adopt retaliatory measures proportional to London's conduct, as bilateral relations had soured due to the British embassy attack, local media reported.

"Our intent was not to sever all ties but merely to downgrade relations" with Britain, and Iran would adjust its policies according to Britain's conduct, Hassan Qashqavi, deputy foreign minister for consular, parliamentary and Iranian expatriate affairs, was quoted by local satellite Press TV as saying.

Qashqavi made the remarks referring to Britain's Wednesday decision to evacuate all its staff, close its embassy in Tehran and expel all Iranian diplomats from Britain after Iranian protestors stormed its embassy in Tehran.

On Tuesday, thousands of angry Iranians staged protests in front of the British embassy and the British Council compound in the Iranian capital, one day after Iran's highest legislative body, the Guardian Council of the Constitution, unanimously approved the downgrading of the diplomatic ties with Britain in response to its "hostile" policy against Iran.

Referring to insignificant trade between the two countries, Qashqavi said Monday that Iran had weakened ties with Britain in recent years, and the total value of economic transactions between the two did not surpass 117 million dollars over the past eight months, the Press TV report said.

Meanwhile, Qashqavi noted that the Iranian students' protests outside the British embassy last week came in response to Britain' s previous actions.

After it expressed on Tuesday regret over the embassy attack, Tehran announced a day later that the Islamic Republic would " retaliate" upon the British decision to expel Iranian diplomats.

EU countries have called back ambassadors temporarily and threatened new sanctions against Iran after the embassy attack.

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