Iran: Embassy raid aimed at deviating public opinion from protests at Bin Salman’s London visit

FNA- Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council Mohsen Rezayee blasted the raid on the Iranian embassy in London by a number of members of an extremist Shia sect, and said the attack was aimed at deviating public opinion from protest at Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to the country.

“The government in London was witnessing public opinion’s pressure and protest at Bin Salman’s visit. The planned and theatrical move by a number of British who claim to be Shias to attack the Iranian embassy in London was aimed at diverting media attention from the trip to sideline the wave of criticisms of the crimes committed by the tyrannical Saudi regime,” Rezayee wrote on his Instagram page on Saturday.

He added that the extremist Shias who attacked the embassy helped bin Salman through their action and showed that they share the same root, and that anti-Sunni and anti-Shia streams are rooted in London.

Rezayee urged the Iranian diplomatic and security apparatus to give a proper response to the embassy raid.

In relevant remarks earlier today, Chairman of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi blasted the British police for conniving the Shia extremists’ attack against Iran’s embassy premises in London, stressing that London should account for it.

“These people could not climb over the embassy’s balcony and make an aggression against the Islamic Republic of Iran’s mission in London without the British security forces and police’s agreement or conniving,” Boroujerdi said on Saturday.

“The British government is duty-bound to fulfill its responsibility and should account for this security breach against the Islamic Republic of Iran’s mission in London,” he added.

Boroujerdi also called on the Iranian foreign ministry to adopt necessary measures and summon the British ambassador to Tehran, adding, “The British government should compensate for any damage on the Iranian embassy.”

Several Britain-based Shia extremists affiliated to Sadeq Shirazi sect attacked the Iranian embassy premises in London, while menacing the staffers with cold weapons.

Four men opened their way into the embassy premises at 16:30 local time, while threatening people on the scene with machetes and baseball bats. The London Police deployed around the embassy but took no action in the first couple of hours after the attack. Later reports said the attackers were arrested after three hours.

The slow pace of police measures against the attack enraged Tehran, and Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said Deputy Foreign Minister Abass Araqchi has informed the British Ambassador to Tehran Nicholas Hapton of “the Islamic Republic of Iran’s strong protest and asked for the full protection of our country’s diplomats and immediate action against the invaders by the police”.

“The British ambassador to Tehran also extended his government’s formal apology and said the anti-riot police have deployed on the scene and have the situation under control,” added Qassemi.

Qassemi also quoted the envoy as saying that all the necessary measures had been taken to secure the Iranian diplomats and block attackers from breaking into the embassy building.

The slogans chanted by the raiders indicated that they were members of Sadeq Shirazi Shia extremist sect, supported by London.

Iran’s Ambassador to Britain Hamid Baeedinejad confirmed the reports on the embassy attack in his twitter account minutes after the attack. “A few followers of Shirazi have attacked the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Embassy in London and broke the flag mast,” the ambassador tweeted, and added that the raiders were “chanting slogans against Iranian officials”.

He further confirmed that the raiders were carrying “sticks and machetes”, and said Police were deployed on the scene.

In a later tweet, Baeedinejad ensured that all the embassy staff were safe and no one had been hurt. He also informed that the attackers were on the balcony of the building and surrounded by the police.

The Shirazi sect that has been labeled as “British Shiism” by the Iranian Supreme Leader operates mainly from London. The sect also runs a satellite network called ‘Fadak’ from London and promotes Shiite extremism against Sunni Islam. The sect is also known to be the religious opposition of the Islamic Republic.

In earlier remarks, Qassemi told FNA that “we are investigating into the case and will keep in contact with the Iranian embassy in London and the British embassy in Tehran”.

“The British government is duty-bound to seriously and decisively fulfill its responsibility to protect the Islamic Republic of Iran’s diplomats and diplomatic centers and immediately arrest and prosecute those who have trespassed the diplomatic sanctuary,” the spokesman reiterated.

Three hours after the attack, the Iranian foreign ministry declared that raiders had all been arrested by the London police.

Spokesman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission said the legislature would ask the foreign ministry to launch a serious probe into the case. “The British government is responsible for the protection of the Iranian embassy in that country and should account for the attack,” he said.