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Iranian cleric says embassy seizures "radical acts" of the past

Cleric and journalist Taha Hashemi has lashed out at what he described as "radical acts" by certain groups during recent anti-war rallies in front of the British Embassy in Tehran, warning that such measures could harm the Islamic Republic, IRNA reported from Tehran.

The English-language newspaper `Iran Daily' on Wednesday quoted Hashemi as saying that any effort to seize embassies in Iran under the prevailing sensitive juncture would give the enemies a pretext against the country.

"Many have not yet understood that they behave according to the realities of the time and that attacking and capturing embassies and representative offices of other countries are things of the past," Iran Daily quoted the director of the Persian-language newspaper `Entekhab' as saying.

A number of theological students and Basiji paramilitary forces staged a demonstration in front of the British Embassy in Tehran on Monday, calling for an abrupt end to the ongoing war in neighboring Iraq.

Some of the protestors reportedly attempted to capture the embassy but their move was foiled by the police who have tightened security near the British Embassy since a pickup smashed into the wall of the compound last week, killing the driver.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry announced that the incident had nothing to do with the Iraq war.

Hashemi said that violent acts under such sensitive regional circumstances will only give invaders a pretext to isolate the Islamic Republic internationally.

"We have paid a high price for acts of extremism in the past and the country is still suffering from the consequences of radicalism at the moment," he said in clear reference to the 1979 seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran, which severed ties between Tehran and Washington and provoked the United States to freeze Iran's huge assets in that country.

... Payvand News - 4/9/03 ... --

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