Well, where have we seen this before?
After about two hours, police seemed to be back in control of the building. Live TV footage showed riot police removing protesters.
Security forces fired tear gas, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. It said some protesters and police had been injured in the clash.
However, later reports said some protesters were still in the embassy. The governor of Tehran and the city’s head of security have entered the building to try to persuade them to leave, the BBC has learned.
An unconfirmed report from the official Irna news agency said a separate group of protesters had broken into another British embassy compound in the north of the city and seized “classified documents”.
I’ve been thinking about how Iran will react to its increasing isolation so the timing of this is interesting. This is especially relevant as we close in on Syria. There is plenty of room for debate about whether a preemptive strike on Iran would make sense but removing Syria from the equation certainly helps manage the uncertainty that would follow. Whatever the intent, the end result is a very isolated and weakened, Iran. Syria aside, Iran is still feeling intense pressure from many different angles at the moment – a lot of them internal.
The embassy storming is also a clear sign of deepening political infighting within Iran’s ruling hardline elites with the conservative-led parliament attempting to force the hand of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and expel the British ambassador.
So expect more of this. I suspect it the situation in Iran will continue to grow more unstable as sanctions, diplomatic isolation, and covert actions continue. Of course, the desired outcome is that all of this will eventually trigger that revolution that Iran has been on the edge of (allegedly) for about a decade now. There are a number of ways this could play out short of shock and awe, in fact that’s the lease desirable option, but all of them will trigger brutal and unpredictable responses in Iran. Iranian hardliners will not slip quietly into the night.
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Follow developments in Iran live with the Blogs of War Iran Monitor at http://iran.blogsofwar.com.