Britain says it is expelling two Iranian diplomats in retaliation for
Iran ordering two British diplomats to leave Tehran in a dispute over
Iran's contested election.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told lawmakers Tuesday Iran
expelled the two diplomats the day before. Iran's government has
accused Britain and other Western nations of interference by
criticizing its crackdown on Iranians protesting the election results.
Mr. Brown says the diplomats' expulsion is unjustified and Iranian
allegations of British meddling are "absolutely without foundation." He
says Britain is expelling two Iranian diplomats from London with regret.
Iran also is accusing U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of meddling
after he urged the Islamic state to "immediately stop" arrests and the
use of force against opposition activists.
Iran's foreign ministry says Mr. Ban is contradicting his duties and
ignoring the facts about the June 12 presidential election. It accused
the U.N. chief of being influenced by unspecified foreign powers.
Mr. Ban released a statement Monday urging Iran's conservative
government and reformist opposition to peacefully resolve their dispute
over the election. Official results gave a landslide victory to the
conservative incumbent, Mahmoud Ahamdinejad.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says Washington believes recent mass
protests over the election mark the "beginnings of change" in Iran, as
he put it.
U.S. President Barack Obama has sharpened his criticism of Iran's
government in recent days while trying to avoid the appearance of
meddling. He is expected to address Iran's political crisis again in a
news conference Tuesday in the White House Rose Garden.
Some opposition Republican lawmakers have criticized Mr. Obama's
handling of the issue, saying the he is not taking a strong enough
Gibbs told a U.S. television network Tuesday Mr.
Obama does not want to become a "political football" that Iran's
government uses against Iranians who seek justice. He says the Obama
administration will not endorse Iranian opposition calls for a general
In another development, several EU nations summoned Iranian ambassadors
Tuesday to condemn Iran's post-election crackdown, including France,
Sweden and Finland. The Czech presidency of the European Union lodged a
similar protest Monday with Iran's envoy in Prague.
Meanwhile, Russia says it views the election controversy as an internal
affair of Iran. It says disputes about the vote must be settled in
strict compliance with Iran's constitution and law.