Four men dressed in black attacked the Iranian embassy in London minutes ago, menacing the staffers with weapons and taking down the Iranian flag. According to Iran’s Press TV, a Britain-based Shiite religious group was behind the stunt.
Twitter footage showed the men on the balcony of the embassy building. One is waving a blue and white flag with inscriptions in Arabic, just after the men apparently took down the Iranian flag.
Video purportedly showing a group of assailants attack Iran Embassy in London pic.twitter.com/tRzsx9KzWC— Press TV (@PressTV) March 9, 2018
According to early media reports, the raiders are four men who had opened their way into the embassy premises, while threatening people on the scene with machetes and baseball bats. The London Police have reportedly deployed around the embassy but took no action in the first couple of hours after the attack.
The slogans chanted by the raiders indicate that they are members of Sadeq Shirazi Shiite extremist sect. Iran's Ambassador to Britain Hamid Baeedinejad confirmed the reports on the embassy attack minutes ago.
متعرضان فقط روي بالكن بيروني ساختمان سفارت بوده و در محاصره پليس هستند. همكاران همه در داخل سفارت در آرامش و امنيت هستند. pic.twitter.com/WBdpnhF5tF— Hamid Baeidinejad (@baeidinejad) March 9, 2018
"A few followers of Shirazi have attacked the Islamic Republic of Iran's Embassy in London and broke the flag mast," the ambassador tweeted minutes ago, and added that the raiders are "chanting slogans against Iranian officials".
دقايقي پيش تعداد اندكي از طرفداران فرقه شيرازي به سفارت ج.ا.ايران در لندن تعرض نموده و با شكستن پرچم، در حال شعار عليه مقامات كشور، و لعن عايشه، ابوبكر، عمر و عثمان هستند. به هنگام ورود، آنها با چماق و قمه ديده شدند. پليس در محل حاضر است.— Hamid Baeidinejad (@baeidinejad) March 9, 2018
He further confirmed that the raiders were carrying "sticks and machetes", and said Police are deployed on the scene.
پليس با آوردن بالابر بلند در خيابان، خود را روبروي بالكن سفارت و در موقعيت جلوي متعرضين قرار داده و ميخواهد با گفتگو چهار جوان متعرض را دعوت به تسليم نمايد.— Hamid Baeidinejad (@baeidinejad) March 9, 2018
The Shirazi sect that has been labeled as "British Shiism" by Iran's Supreme Leader, operates mainly from London. The sect also runs a satellite network called 'Fadak' from London and promotes Shiite extremism against Sunni Islam according to Fars News. The sect is also known to be the religious opposition of the Islamic Republic.
Meantime, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi told FNA that "we are investigating into the case and will keep in contact with the Iranian embassy in London and the British embassy in Tehran".
"The British government is duty-bound to seriously and decisively fulfill its responsibility to protect the Islamic Republic of Iran's diplomats and diplomatic centers and immediately arrest and prosecute those who have trespassed the diplomatic sanctuary," the spokesman reiterated.
The Metropolitan Police have reportedly confirmed the incident, journalist Nahayat Tizhoosh tweeted, citing fellow journalist Laura McQuillan. The men were reportedly on the roof and police are negotiating for them to come down, although according to subsequent unconfirmed reports, they may have been arrested