Maya Neyestani compares protest and Iran's security forces 2009 with protest and Iran's security forces 2011: "Nah, they are students. Take it easy."
See also Iran 1st-Hand Special: Basij Student's Account of the Attack on the British Embassy br>
Iran Analysis: The Embassy Attack --- "A Serious Mis-Calculation" by the Regime br>
The Latest from Iran (1 December): A Spot of Bother
2120 GMT: The Embassy Attack. The British Ambassador to Iran, Dominick Chilcott, has given his account of Tuesday's occupation of the Embassy --- interestingly, it matches up with that of one of the Basij militia who took over the building. Chilcott said:
One of our staff was on his own in his keep (safe area) and he barricaded the door with a heavy safe and a bed, and braced himself against the wall. And for 45 minutes he could hear people bashing down the door, smashing the windows and trying to get in because they knew he was there. It must have been a very frightening experience — until eventually the door gave way and they got him.
Chilcott said seven staff --- Iranian accounts say six --- were taken to another building and made to sit quietly, some of them being "quite roughly handled", until they were escorted away by security forces. He said of his experience:
We could hear them trying to smash the doors and buildings down below. But they couldn't get into our part of the building. Except in one point, where they got into one of the consular offices and started a fire. And in the end it was the fire and the smoke coming up onto the third floor corridor which forced us out.
1818 GMT: The Embassy Attack. Some more dissent over Tuesday's occupation --- Gholamreza Karami of Parliament's Nat'l Security Committee has said that the protest by "students" was right but they should have been stopped from entering the embassy compound.
1758 GMT: Embassy Tit-for-Tat. A small bit of good news for the expelled Iranian diplomats --- their airplane was allowed to refuel at an airport in eastern England so they could make it home.
Kent International Airport at Manston had halted the refuelling of flights by Iran Air last week. The national airline had been using Manston for several months when refuelling was blocked at London Heathrow.
On another front, lawyers for Rafsanjani's son, Mehdi Hashemi, have said they will contest the multi-million-dollar judgement against him by a Canadian court for torture and extortion of an Iranian businessman.
Meanwhile, in Tehran a British flag is burned after Friday Prayers:
1720 GMT: The Embassy Watch. More posturing in Iran over the British....
Leading MP Gholam-Reza Mesbahi Moghaddam has said the downgrade in relations with Britain is "our minimum demand" and Tuesday's actions by "students" were "worthy and appropriate".
The Friday Prayer leader in Qom, Mohammad Saeedi, said the "mercenary government" of Britain is "too miserable to threaten Iran", as it "lost its lackeys" Muammar Qaddafi and Hosni Mubarak.
Mohammad Pahlavan, the head of the Islamic Students Community, called for an end to relations with Britain, handing over the Embassy grounds in Qolhak Garden to the Iranian people.
And reformist Massoumeh Ebtekar, a former Vice President, has said that British "behaviour is not acceptable....No political camp supports threats and sanctions."
Tehran Friday Prayer Khatami rallies the "Death to Britain" chants (see 1410 GMT):
Someone may want to spread that message --- a recently-appointed member of Iran's Money and Credit Council has been summoned and interrogated.
Critics have accused Boroujerdi of involvement in the embezzlement.
1644 GMT: Subsidy Cuts Watch. MP Musalreza Servati has offered some numbers on the first nine months of President Ahmadinejad's subsidy cuts, and they do not quite add up for the objective of decreasing Government expenditure --- while there has been 17 trillion Toman (about $12.3 billion) income, the Government has out 25 trillion Toman (about $18.5 billion) in support payments.
Vice President Joe Biden, in an interview with Hurriyet, said, "We continue to support a diplomatic solution to our concerns with Iran. However, we also believe that putting pressure on Iran's leadership is necessary to secure a negotiated settlement, and that is why we encourage our partners, including Turkey, to take steps to impose new sanctions on Iran, as we have continued to do,"
1610 GMT: Elections Watch. Mohammad Reza Bahonar, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, has warned that the "hands of the deviant current are linked to foreign powers", but said that people will any thwart plans to stay away from the Parliamentary elections in March.
Former Speaker of Parliament Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel offered a complementary message, "People hv shown wisdom, electing principlists for 10 years; the reformists are no problem." He added the caution that the public must beware of improper candidates.
1410 GMT: Your Tehran Friday Prayer Update. So would Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, never a shy character, use the prayer today to mention the attack on the British Embassy, given it the seal of endorsement from the pulpit?
Not quite, but he did everything short of that. From Mehr:
Ahmad Khatami, during his Friday Prayers speech, told the crowd that the UK needed punishment --- referring to the new parliamentary resolutions that seek to minimize ties with Britain....He also added that sanctions against the Iranian Central Bank would be useless as Iran's ties with the UK and US are not as strong so it will not be affected much. He spent a good amount of time blaming the UK for Iran's troubles and proclaimed that because of these issues, people must say "Death to Britain" after they've said "Death to America" during protests.
Khatami warned members of the European Union, "If you have just a bit of wisdom, you won't tie your rope to the rotten rope of Britain."
Khatami also used the forthcoming ceremony of Ashura to launch an attack on the Green Movement. Reviewing the opposition'[s Ashura protests of 27 December 2009, he said the city of Tehran became a battlefield, but the "intrigue was ended", as the people came to the aid of Imam Hussein, who death is commemorated on the day.
1400 GMT: Laying Down the Gauntlet. Hard-line MP Hamid Rasaei, who was prominent in the crowd at the British Embassy on Tuesday, has put out a bold statement. Sanctions do not hurt Iran, he claims, but the Islamic Republic must beware of the Green Movement, maraje (senior clerics), and the reformist Imam Khomeini Line. Rasaei added the tribute that the Egyptian uprising was the result of Ayatollah Khamenei's leadership.
An EA correspondent assesses, "Rasaei has set the agenda for the next attacks, especially on opposition clerics, reformists, and the Greens."
1345 GMT: The Embassy Attack (Ahmadinejad Edition). We have been struck all week by the silence of the President over the attack on the UK Embassy. Now Digarban claims that the Ahmadinejad camp has finally reacted, declaring that the occupation was a "suspicious action against the Government", led by Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf and Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani.
1315 GMT: The Embassy Attack. Back from an academic break to sweep up some reactions to Tuesday's assault on the British Embassy....
BBC Persian reports that European diplomats were "shocked" by the damage to the Embassy, even as journalists were prevented by Iranian security from seeing the scene.
About 40 diplomats visited the compound but non-European diplomats and journalists were barred from the secondary building at Gholhak Garden, where Embassy staff were briefly held and damage was reportedly widespread. A camera of the German TV channel was seized.
One diplomat said, "It was devastating to see. I saw two rooms where you couldn't see what they were. There was just ashes." He added, "You could tell the action was co-ordinated."
Mohammad Karamirad of Parliament's Nat'l Sec Committee was defiant, however: the reaction to the "protest" of the "students" proved that the US and Britain were drawing their swords, and Iran's Foreign Ministry --- which has been uncomfortable about the attack and trying to calm the situation --- should control Western diplomats.
However, Alef, the outlet of key MP Ahmad Tavakoli, continues to criticise the assault and its promotion by others in the regime. The website denounces the Iranian media's "hype" over the incident and highlights the violation of foreign territory and damage to private property. It concludes that the attack was "un-Islamic".
Opposition student organisation Daftar-e Takhim Vahdat and alumni organisation Advar-e Tahkim Vahdat in Iran issued separate statements to "condemn the attack at the British embassy –-- the attackers were not true representative of Iranian students, they were affiliated with the authorities in power".
"Iran's national interests were damaged 32 years ago after the seizure of the US embassy with similar claims, an incident that doubled the challenges Iran was facing at the time," Daftar-e Takhim Vahdat continued. "Despite the claims, the leader of student movements [in Iran] and dozens of other students are currently kept in jail for criticism."
0825 GMT: Now, the Economy. For all the furour over the attack on the UK Embassy, the more significant story may lie elsewhere. Three days after Central Bank head Mahmoud Bastani tried to reassure people after the sliding Iranian currency, the rial has again fallen in the open market to 13500:1 vs. the US dollar.
That is well below the Bank's former "red line" of 13000:1 and a gap of 20% from the offical rate of 10870:1.
The Bank has now set five conditions for currency buyers, among them same-day payment on same day, presentation of export documents, and no withdrawal except by the recipient of the funds.
0755 GMT: After the Embassy. Behind Britain's tough rhetoric and the dismissal of Iran's diplomats from the UK, the European Union has also added a bit of moderation to the headline position of widened sanctions.
On Thursday, foreign ministers approved the addition of 180 individuals and organisations to the sanctions list; however, the EU did not take further action over Iran's energy sector, including a suspension of oil imports.
The moderation, however, is more to do with internal politics and economics within Europe, rather than the stance on the Embassy attack and Iran's nuclear programme. Southern European countries, including Greece --- which buys most of its oil from Tehran --- raised "a certain number of concerns" with the embargo.
So the EU postponed any decision until January. In the meantime, it will look for alternative suppliers of oil to take care of the "concerns".
0740 GMT: Press TV starts us off this morning with an Oscar-winning performance in straight-faced satire:
Iran's embassies in the Swiss capital city of Bern and the British capital of London have been attacked in what seems to be an organized campaign against Iran's diplomatic missions in Europe.
Almost three days after the organised "spontaneous" occupation of the British Embassy in Tehran, the Iranian State outlet is still banging the drum, re-working an article by Robert Fisk in The Independent of London into "What Make Iranians Hate Britain".
Yet there is also a tone of defensiveness as well, with perhaps the implicit recognition that elements of the regime went too far on Tuesday. Under the challenging headline, "West Warned Against Anti-Iran Agitation", Press TV appears to be seeking moderation, "The Chinese and Russian governments have called on Western countries to show restraint over Iran, warning them against escalating tensions with the country." It then appears to channel the approach of Iranian officials through the words of the Chinese Foreign Ministry's spkesman, "We hope the countries involved will keep calm, rational and restrained to avoid emotional actions.”