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Lawmaker claims Iran paid $1.6m to UK over as damages for embassy attack

A general view of the Iranian embassy in London, UK on 1 December 2011 [Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]
A general view of the Iranian embassy in London, UK on 1 December 2011 [Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]

An Iranian member of parliament has claimed that “270 billion rials [$1.6 million) of people’s money” was paid to the UK as compensation for damages incurred during a mob attack on the British embassy in Tehran in 2011.

According to the US government-funded Radio Farda, citing pro-reformist MP Ahmad Mazani, up to $1.6 million (£1.3 million) was paid in order to restore several pieces of art that were destroyed as a result of the attack, although it is not clear when the amount was paid.

However, Iran’s Mehr news agency reports that Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said there has not been any talks with the UK over compensation due to the damages incurred to the priceless objects, adding: “There are rules in the international law in this regard. The Iranian government also announced that protecting and maintaining foreign missions in Tehran shall be borne by the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

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The issue was taken up by the British government back in 2014, with Iran expressing a willingness to discuss financial compensation, but stopping short of a formal apology although it later expressed “regret” over the incident.  It was reported in 2015, shortly after the embassy was reopened, that London had to fit the repair bill itself.

The storming of the embassy by hardline protesters was triggered by the UK’s decision to impose additional economic sanctions which included severing all ties with Iran’s financial sectors, including its Central Bank, following a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over Iran’s disputed nuclear activities.

In 1981, the Iranian government officially changed the name of the street where the British embassy is based, from Winston Churchill Street to Bobby Sands Street, after the Irish nationalist and IRA member who died following a hunger strike whilst incarcerated that year. In response, the British government sealed the entrance and knocked through a wall into Ferdowsi Avenue to make a new entrance.

READ: Iran says will support new Iraq government 

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