Iran mulls retaliation for sanctions

TEHRAN // Iran yesterday looked to expelling the British ambassador in angry retaliation for fresh western sanctions over its nuclear programme, which have been criticise by China and Russia.

Iranian lawmakers, some crying "Death to Britain", adopted an emergency bill to be voted on Sunday that would downgrade diplomatic relations to the level of charge d'affaires if passed, the legislature's website said.

The bill also said parliament could take action "on other countries that behave in a manner similar to that of Britain", according to the Fars and Mehr news agencies.

Britain this week, in coordination with the United States and Canada, announced sanctions on Iran. They cited as justification a report by the UN atomic energy watchdog this month suggesting Tehran was researching nuclear weapons.

Britain said it was "ceasing all contact" between its financial system and that of Iran. The United States and Canada said they would also clamp down on the sector, including on Iran's central bank.

China yesterday criticised the western sanctions, saying they would "exacerbate" the stand-off over Iran's nuclear activities.

Russia on Tuesday blasted the sanctions as "unacceptable and against international law".

China and Russia have used their weight on the UN Security Council to block any possibility of the sanctions being more broadly imposed through a UN resolution.


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