REPORTING FROM TEHRAN AND BEIRUT — Hundreds of demonstrators stormed the British Embassy in Tehran on Tuesday to protest sanctions imposed on Iran, chanting "Death to Britain" and setting fire to the British, U.S. and Israeli flags.
Some of the protesters climbed over the gates and into the compound, where they tossed gasoline bombs and hoisted the Iranian flag in place of the British banner. Iranian security forces appeared slow to respond but regained control of the compound within three hours. Initial reports indicated that the embassy staff was safe.
The British Foreign Office said it was outraged.
"Under international law, including the Vienna Convention, the Iranian government have a clear duty to protect diplomats and embassies in their country and we expect them to act urgently to bring the situation under control and ensure the safety of our staff and security of our property," a Foreign Office spokesman said on customary condition of anonymity.
The demonstrators were angry about Britain's decision to sever financial ties with Iranian banks, which British officials accuse of facilitating Tehran's nuclear program.