Crowds chanted “Death to Britain” at Tehran University on Friday prayers as a hardline Iranian cleric warned the U.N. and European Union against siding with London after students and militia stormed the British embassy in Tehran.
Cleric Ahmad Khatami denounced those who tied themselves to “the rotten rope of Britain” including the EU – which may slap more sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program – as a group involved in the embassy’s ransacking prepared to give Iranian diplomats expelled from Britain a hero’s welcome home.
Britain evacuated its diplomats from Tehran and closed down the Iranian embassy in London after scores of Basiji militia men and radical students sacked the embassy and a residential compound on Tuesday.
In response, the biggest EU countries withdrew their ambassadors and the United Nations Security Council said it “condemned in the strongest terms” the attack.
Khatami told worshippers that the Security Council was showing itself to be as bad Britain, which Iranian hardliners believe is plotting to bring down their Islamic system.
“Issuing a statement against Iran means falling into a well with the rotten rope of Britain,” Khatami said to chants of “Death to Britain.”
Khatami also warned Britain’s EU partners, which tightened sanctions on Tehran on Thursday and are considering banning Iranian oil imports, against closing ranks with London.
“If you have just a bit of wisdom, you won’t tie your rope to the rotten rope of Britain,” he said.
Rising tensions with the world’s fifth biggest oil exporter pushed up global oil prices despite concerns of a sustained economic downturn in the West. Brent crude rose toward $110 a barrel on Friday.
With international pressure on Tehran rising, EU foreign ministers laid out the plans on Thursday for a possible embargo on Iranian oil in response to growing Western suspicions that the Islamic Republic aims to build nuclear weapons.
Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful but the U.N. nuclear watchdog body issued a report last month which suggested it has worked on designing an atom bomb.
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