TEHRAN: Dozens of hard-line Iranian students stormed the British embassy in Tehran on Tuesday, bringing down the Union Jack flag and throwing documents from windows in scenes reminiscent of the anger against Western powers after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The mob moved into the diplomatic compound two days after Iran's parliament approved a bill that reduces diplomatic relations with Britain following London's support of recently upgraded Western sanctions on Tehran over its disputed nuclear program.
The protesters broke through after clashing with anti-riot police and chanting for its takeover. "Death to England,'' some cried in the first significant assault of a foreign diplomatic area in Iran in years.
There was no immediate word on casualties or how many embassy employees were inside at the time of the assault, although it occurred after business hours had ended. More protesters poured into the compound as police tried to clear the site.
Smoke rose from some areas of the embassy grounds and the British flag was replaced with a banner in the name of 7th century Shiite saint, Imam Hussein.
The occupier called for the closure of the embassy calling it a "spy den" the same phrase used after militants stormed the US embassy in Tehran in 1979 and held 52 hostages for 444 days. Washington and Tehran have no diplomatic relations since then.