Page last updated at 11:49 GMT, Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Iran issues 'slap' warning to UK

Protesters outside the Iranian embassy in London
Some protesters held a rally outside the Iranian embassy in London

Britain has been given a warning by Iran's foreign minister that it will "get slapped in the mouth" if it does not "stop the nonsense".

Manouchehr Mottaki responded after UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband hailed the "great courage" of Iranians who staged opposition protests on Sunday.

Iran says the clashes, which resulted in at least eight people being killed, were inspired and aided by the West.

The UK ambassador is being summoned by Iran to receive a formal complaint.

Mr Mottaki said the protesters "should not be encouraged by a few... statements by certain countries".

He added: "They should not pin their hopes on them. Britain will get slapped in the mouth if it does not stop its nonsense."

Mr Mottaki's speech was broadcast on Iranian television with an English translation on screen.

"The lowly and downgrading remarks by some foreign officials show the black stain on their record in their... contradictory interactions."

The tragic deaths of protesters in Iran are yet another reminder of how the Iranian regime deals with protest
David Miliband, Foreign Minister

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said that "some Western countries are supporting this sort of activities" and that this was "intervention in our internal affairs".

He said that, as a result, the British ambassador was to be summoned on Tuesday and a formal complaint would be made.

Mr Miliband condemned the lack of restraint by Iranian security forces, saying that reports emerging from the capital were "disturbing".

"The tragic deaths of protesters in Iran are yet another reminder of how the Iranian regime deals with protest," he said.

"Ordinary Iranian citizens are determined to exercise their right to have their voices heard. They are showing great courage.

"I call on the Iranian government to respect the human rights of its own citizens - rights which Iran has promised to respect."

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