Those who were around and sentient in 1979 might shudder to hear that it is now the British Embassy in Tehran that has been stormed, ostensibly by angry students but pretty clearly with the government’s at least tacit okay. The event comes in light of Iran’s decision yesterday to downgrade ties with Britain, itself a response to further economic sanctions Britain signed onto in the wake of this month’s International Atomic Energy Agency report, which found extensive evidence of an ongoing illicit Iranian nuclear weapons program. (There is no U.S. embassy in Tehran; diplomatic ties were severed following the ’79 hostage crisis, in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took part.)
Anyway, reports from a semi-official Iranian news agency have contradicted themselves over whether the protesters have seized embassy staffers, which would add an entirely new dimension to what is already a huge violation of international law and, technically, sovereign British territory. If any British nationals in Iran are reading this, your government’s advice to you is to stay indoors and await further instructions. We’ll be thinking of you here.